An Illinois prisoner who claimed that the healthcare provider at the prison where he was incarcerated was more concerned with saving money than diagnosing and treating his cancer, has obtained a $11 million medical malpractice verdict for the deliberate indiffernce to his civil rights. The Illinois medical malpractice jury awarded the prisoner $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in puntive damages. The judgment was entered on December 18, 2019.
The prisoner’s medical malpractice attorneys handled the matter pro bono, having been assigned the case by a federal judge. The trial lasted one-and-a-half weeks after which the Illinois medical malpractice jury deliberated for about three hours before returning its verdict.
The prisoner first reported that he had urine in his blood to the prison doctor in December 2015. The prison’s healthcare contractor allegedly had a policy whereby another physician was required to sign off on surgery for prisoners as a cost control measure. The prisoner did not have the nine-hour surgery to remove his cancerous kidney and the cancer in a vein near his heart until more than 200 days after first complaining of blood in his urine.
The prisoner’s pro bono lawyer stated after the verdict, “This is a large jury verdict in a case like this and it is clearly a jury sending a very direct and concrete message to Wexford [the prison’s healthcare contractor] that they should be changing their practices.” Wexford reportedly entered into a $1.36 billion contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2011, to provide health services to prisoners in its correctional facilities.
The case is captioned Dean v. Wexford Health Source et al, C.D. Ill., 3:17-cv-03112, 12/18/19.
Deliberate Indifference To Serious Medical Need
Deliberate indifference to an inmate’s serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A serious medical need is considered one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor’s attention. To prove a claim for deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment, a prisoner must show (1) that he had an objectively serious medical need and (2) that the prison official subjectively acted with deliberate indifference to that need.
Deliberate indifference has three components the plaintiff must satisfy: he must show a prison official’s (1) subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm; (2) disregard of that risk; (3) by conduct that is more than mere negligence. Conduct that is more than mere negligence includes: (1) grossly inadequate care; (2) a decision to take an easier but less efficacious course of treatment; and (3) medical care that is so cursory as to amount to no treatment at all.
Source Carter v. Broward County Sheriff Office, Case No. 16-11649
Wexford Health Sources Incorporated states on its website: “Wexford Health Sources, the nations leading innovative correctional health care company, provides clients with experienced management and technologically advanced services, combined with programs that control costs while ensuring quality … Our Quality Management Program ensures patients receive appropriate care and helps our clients maintain accreditation and legal compliance … Wexford Health does not sacrifice quality in order to save money. Instead, we develop programs that cut costs without having any negative impact on care or customer service.”
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 Illinois 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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