A lawsuit recently filed in federal court in Detroit alleges that a for-profit prison medical services contractor and others were negligent when it came to their treatment of a man who was spending 30 days in jail due to his failure to appear in traffic court for a careless driving charge. On the man’s sixteenth day in jail, he was sent to the hospital, where he died ninety minutes later due to acute withdrawal from chronic benzodiazepine, methadone, and opiate medications, according to the man’s death certificate.
The death certificate further indicated that the time between the onset of the cause of the man’s death and the death itself was weeks. An autopsy report indicated that the man suffered from dehydration with hypernatremia and seizure/seizure-like activity. The federal lawsuit alleges that the man had lost 50 pounds in the sixteen days that he was incarcerated.
The federal lawsuit was filed by the man’s brother and alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of the man, knowingly allowing him to suffer through withdrawal from his prescription medications. The defendants include the county where the jail was located, the private company that was contracted to provide medical services and mental health services to the jail’s inmates (Correct Care Solutions), and many county and other employees. The federal deliberate indifference lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000.
The man allegedly advised the personnel at the jail when he was first incarcerated in June 2014 that he was prescribed and had been taking Xanax, Klonopin, and Oxycodone. The brother’s lawsuit alleges that the man was assessed by the jail personnel when he was first incarcerated and that he was recommended to be housed in a medical detox unit. After the man was observed to be hallucinating and talking to people who were not there, he was placed in a mental health cell, naked and subjected to around-the-clock video observation.
The federal lawsuit alleges that the man was observed twitching on the floor of his cell. The following day, he was assessed by a nurse supervisor who was advised that the man had been taking Klonopin for anxiety but the nurse failed to write an order for medication; the lawsuit further alleges that another of the defendants had learned that the man had been taking Xanax and Oxycodone before he was incarcerated.
The lawsuit alleges that the jail personnel watched but did nothing while the man suffered from serious and life-threatening benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms for ten days. On June 27, 2014, the man was found to be struggling to breathe in his cell and attempts were made to revive him. He died shortly after being transferred to a local hospital.
If you or a loved one may have the basis for a claim alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need regarding a current or former inmate in a jail, prison, or other correctional facility in the United States, you should promptly find an inmate medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your deliberate indifference claim for you and represent you in an inmate medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you with your deliberate indifference medical malpractice claim.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.