Summit County jail officials are being sued for the wrongful death of a 30-year-old prisoner who allegedly was not provided with medical care he desperately needed. When he died, medical examinations disclosed the lining of his abdomen was bleeding badly, an ulcer in his stomach had ruptured, and he had died while suffering shock.
The lawsuit contends the prisoner's urgent need for emergency medical attention would have been clear to jail personnel under the circumstances, even to those with no medical knowledge or experience. The lawsuit is predicated, in part, on the autopsy report findings, as well as indications that the prisoner was found unresponsive by another inmate after going without any intervention at all for approximately five hours.
The prisoner was incarcerated at the county jail for approximately three days at the time of his death. The autopsy report expressed the opinion that the death could have been averted had proper medical attention been provided to the prisoner in time. The lawsuit has been filed in federal court and seeks both compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.
Some of the prisoner's injuries may have resulted from his prior use of heroin, which jail personnel knew about when he was incarcerated. After he was reported to have vomited blood at the jail, personnel there did little or nothing for him, according to the lawsuit, only cautioning him that he should try to eat something and consume plenty of liquids.
When prisoners' rights to adequate medical attention are denied, jail or prison officials may be sued for violations of the Eighth Amendments prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, as well as for state law negligence. On federal civil rights claims, in addition to damages, the court can award damages, as well as attorneys' fees to a prevailing plaintiff.
Source: Ohio.com, "Summit County jail officials sued for neglect in 2011 inmate death" Ed Meyer, May. 04, 2013