The adult daughter of a jail prisoner in Georgia has filed a Georgia medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against the private company that was contracted to provide medical services to prisoners, for the death of her mother due to the alleged failure to provide timely and adequate medical care that led to the mother’s death while incarcerated.
The private for-profit company hired by the jail in 1997 to provide its prisoners with medical care (Corizon) is the largest for-profit correctional health care provider in the United States, with contracts to provide medical services in 301 correctional facilities in 22 U.S. states.
The 53-year-old Georgia jail inmate had been incarcerated since January 2014 on drug charges when, on February 28, 2015, she was found in her cell, shivering and complaining that she hurt all over. A nurse determined that her resting heart rate was too high.
The jail was aware that the woman had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and experienced severe bouts of coughing. The Georgia medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleges that in the weeks before February 28, 2015, the woman had repeatedly told the jail health care providers that her cough was getting worse and that she was producing a thick gray mucus. Despite the woman’s medical history and her medical condition, she was treated for a cold and was told that she would not be seen by a doctor until two days later.
The following day, the woman reported to a nurse in the jail that she had chest pain and requested that she be transferred to the medical unit, which was denied. Three hours later, she died.
Profits Over Prisoners?
The Georgia jail malpractice lawsuit alleges that the woman died from pneumonia that should have been diagnosed earlier which would have resulted in medical treatment that could have saved her life. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant for-profit jail medical provider failed to provide the woman appropriate medical care due to its policy of minimizing expenses so that its profits can be maximized.
A spokesperson for the defendant jail health services provider stated, “One of the greatest misconceptions about our company is that we somehow benefit from providing lower quality of care. To the contrary, what makes good medical sense and good business sense is excellent and proactive preventative care – intervening early to treat conditions before they become serious and more costly to treat … It is important to emphasize that the existence of a lawsuit is not necessarily indicative of quality of care or any wrongdoing. Our doctors and nurses work every day in extremely difficult settings to provide the best possible medical care for the patients in our care.”
Some Examples Of Previous Corizon Problems
In a letter addressed to the D.C. City Council Chairman, the CEO of Corizon Health stated, in part: “Having provided correctional healthcare services for more than 30 years, our company has gained unique knowledge and experience allowing for the administration of the most effective risk-management available. During the period of June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2014, our company provided literally millions of patient care encounters – yet during this same period, we have only been subjected to 1,364 lawsuits.”
It was reported that Corizon Correctional Healthcare paid out more than $4.5 million to settle lawsuits brought by New Mexico inmates from 2007 through the end of May 2016, when it lost its contract.
In November 2016, the parents of a 26-year-old prisoner in an Oregon jail filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the jail and Corizon Health following their daughter’s death while pleading for medical help as she was detoxing from heroin in the jail.
In May 2016, a Georgia inmate filed a lawsuit against Corizon Health, alleging that the jail nurses failed to provide him with his prescribed eye drops over the period of months, leading to blindness in his right eye.
In Florida, a U.S. District Court judge gave his preliminary approval on September 22, 2016 to a class action settlement between a class of incarcerated people, the Florida Department of Corrections, and its former medical contractor, Corizon, LLC, regarding claims that the defendant had a policy and practice of unlawfully denying medically necessary hernia surgeries in an effort to save costs. The defendants are required to pay $2.1 million to a class of approximately 2,000 current and former inmates with hernias.
In Arizona, between March and July 2015, Corizon connected inmates with health care providers in a timely fashion only 64% of the time. In one Arizona prison complex, the average wait time to see a doctor was more than 75 days in July 2015. The average wait time to see a nurse increased from 12 days in May 2015 to 17 days in July 2015. More than one half of the patients were not even scheduled to see a nurse.
If you or a loved one were injured due to deliberate indifference or the lack of appropriate medical care while incarcerated in a prison, jail, or other correctional facility in Georgia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state who handles prisoner/inmate medical malpractice claims and may investigate your claim and represent you, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with prisoner rights lawyers in your state who may assist you.
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