A Minnesota inmate approaching the end of his four-month incarceration due to his parole violation died as a result of medical negligence, according to a federal medical malpractice lawsuit filed by his family on January 3, 2014.
The inmate had sought medical care at the prison on five occasions over a three-day period for his breathing problems. On each occasion, he was denied access to a prison doctor. After the inmate’s last desperate effort to see a prison doctor, the prison nurse made a note in the inmate’s chart to remind herself to speak to her supervisor concerning the inmate’s “overuse of health services” at the prison.
The inmate had a severe respiratory infection that progressively worsened over the three-day period. On the third day, the 32-year-old inmate, who was only a few weeks from being released from prison, was found by a prison nurse on the floor of the prison’s health services unit, where he complained that he was having a hard time breathing because his lungs were full. The nurse allegedly listened to the man’s lungs but did not detect any breathing difficulties, thereafter returning the inmate to his cell.
The following morning, a prison guard found the man in his cell gasping and wheezing, unable to speak. The inmate was transported by an ambulance to the hospital, where it was determined that the man was suffering from acute respiratory failure, acute renal failure, and was going into shock. He suffered three cardiac arrests that evening and died from acute bilateral pneumonia and sepsis.
The federal medical malpractice lawsuit filed against three nurses and two prison officials accuses the prison system’s for-profit contractor for medical services of failing to provide the inmate with timely and appropriate medical care in the days before his death. The lawsuit alleges that had the prison medical staff simply taken a chest x-ray of the man, his pneumonia would have been timely diagnosed and could have been properly treated at a hospital, thereby preventing his unnecessary death. The federal malpractice lawsuit seeks $1,000,000 in damages.
According to reports, the Minnesota medical services provided in state prisons have been criticized and reviewed in the past. In 2010, an inmate died after suffering seizures in his cell, which led to his death. Minnesota paid $400,000 to the inmate’s family to settle medical malpractice claims arising out of the inmate’s death. In October 2013, Minnesota severed its relationship with the for-profit contractor that had provided medical services in Minnesota’s prisons.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while incarcerated in Minnesota or in a prison or jail in another state in the United States that may be due to the lack of timely or appropriate medical services while incarcerated, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney (prison malpractice attorney) who may investigate your inmate medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a prison medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with Minnesota medical malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you with your prisoner medical malpractice claim.
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