An Arkansas county and the private health care provider contracted to provide medical services to prisoners in the county jail reportedly settled a deliberate indifference wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a jailed prisoner who died as a result of the failure of the defendants to provide timely and proper care for his Type I diabetes.
An autopsy of the 30-year-old prisoner found severely high levels of glucose and ketones in his urine with a blood glucose reading of 506 mg/dl. A blood glucose reading in excess of 200 mg/dl is considered high and requires immediate medical attention.
The man was arrested for a probation violation on November 7, 2015 and placed in the county jail. His father brought his insulin medications to the jail shortly after his son’s arrest. One of the insulin medications was supposed to be taken once a day, and the other was to be taken twice a day. The jail’s intake forms and medical forms documented the man’s diabetes and also noted that he had been hospitalized three weeks earlier for diabetes.
The Arkansas jail contracted with the private company to provide nursing services to inmates at the jail for 56 hours per week, from Monday through Friday. Weekend medical observation and services were supposed to be provided by jail personnel.
On the Saturday night the man was arrested, his blood glucose level was 351 mg/dl. The off-duty nurse came to the jail and administered insulin and nausea medication to the man. Shortly after midnight, the man’s blood glucose level was 210 mg/dl and he was administered additional insulin by jail personnel after consultation with the nurse. The nurse was not involved with the man’s medical care thereafter.
Two days after he was jailed, the man was throwing up profusely and his blood glucose was measured at 452 mg/dl. He was administered insulin by another nurse at that time. That same day he was throwing up again and was given insulin without having his blood glucose level measured. He was not given insulin or treated for his diabetes for three days afterwards, according to the deliberate indifference lawsuit.
Subsequently, the man’s blood glucose level was measured at 381 mg/dl and he was administered insulin in the jail infirmary. He was placed in a holding cell on November 12, 2015. From November 14 until November 15, the man lay naked and motionless in his cell. The guards allegedly left food trays that were untouched by the man, and the guards nudged him but did not further check on him until he was found without a pulse, according to the lawsuit. It was determined that the man died between 4:00 am and 5:30 pm on November 15, 2015.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the man told jail personnel he required insulin and was exhibiting physical symptoms that required medical care but that the jail personnel and the contracted medical services provider “deliberately and willfully failed to provide self-evident medical treatment.”
A stipulation of dismissal of the deliberate indifference lawsuit that had been removed to federal court was filed by the parties on June 1, 2018.
If you or a loved one may have a claim involving deliberate indifference to a serious medical need involving a present or former inmate in Arkansas or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an inmate medical malpractice lawyer in Arkansas or in your state who may investigate your deliberate indifference claim for you and represent you in an inmate medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
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