The mother of a 22-year-old inmate who was incarcerated in a Georgia jail for a non-violent parole violation (he tested positive for marijuana in his system) has filed a Georgia wrongful death case naming the Georgia county that ran the jail, the sheriff, and numerous deputies as defendants, alleging that the failure to properly train and supervise jail personnel in the proper procedures in dealing with medical complaints show a deliberate and conscious indifference to the constitutionally mandated requirement that incarcerated individuals receive appropriate medical care, leading to her son’s death while incarcerated.
According to the mother’s deliberate indifference wrongful death lawsuit, her son complained to the on-duty deputy and guards at the jail during the evening of December 19, 2013 and for the next two days that he had chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and other symptoms for which he repeatedly requested that he be brought to the jail’s infirmary, which the defendants failed to do.
The inmate was seen laying in his bed in his cell after returning from breakfast on December 21, 2013. He was observed to be in the same position and not moving for the rest of the day, which led to several inmates requesting at dinner time that the on-duty deputy check on the inmate, which he allegedly refused to do. The inmate’s cellmate then went to wake up the inmate and found him cold, stiff, and unresponsive. The cellmate informed the on-duty deputy, who then checked on the inmate, who was dead. The jail nurse determined that the inmate had been dead for six to eight hours before she examined his body.
An autopsy determined that the inmate had no drugs or alcohol in his system and that there were no signs of foul play. The autopsy report stated that the cause of death may have been possible arrhythmia. The jail nurse was interviewed during an inquest into the inmate’s death and stated that she was not made aware that the inmate had been feeling ill. A jail supervisor reportedly testified during the inquest that the jail’s policy is to perform an inmate head count and check on inmates at fifteen-minute intervals throughout the day.
The mother’s wrongful death lawsuit alleges, “Although it is common for inmates to sleep during the day, a routine check on [the inmate] would have shown that he had been laying in his bed in the same position all day after complaining about chest pains and feeling ill.”
The mother’s wrongful death lawsuit reportedly alleges that the defendant county and defendant sheriff were aware of at least two prior inmates who died while in their custody after the inmates were denied medical care after complaining of cardiac symptoms.
The mother’s lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages for her son’s pain and suffering.
If you or a family member were seriously injured (or worse) as a result of inadequate, untimely, and/or improper medical care while incarcerated in the United States (sometimes referred to as a deliberate indifference claim), you should promptly seek the advice of a local attorney in your state who may investigate your prison medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a claim for injuries due to correctional medical malpractice, if appropriate.
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