This came out a couple of weeks ago; my friend Matt just turned me on to it (thanks Matt). I believe I already posted McClure's story here or on Prison Abolitionist
by JJ Hensley - Aug. 3, 2009
More than seven months have passed since the health-care provider for
A pair of lawsuits filed by inmates and family members against Correctional Health Services last month mention the agency's lack of accreditation.
It's exactly what local and national experts predicted when the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare pulled the agency's accreditation in January, after a two-year probation period and months of wrangling over inmate medical care.
The county is still without accreditation, although Correctional Health Services Director Betty Adams said in a statement that the agency would "reapply in the next few moths."
"CHS is not required to be accredited,"
Gary Lessen, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in both recent lawsuits, said the lack of accreditation points to larger issues and leaves the county's taxpayers more susceptible to this type of legal action.
"One of the reasons that lawyers in these death and personal-injury cases use that is that the violation of accreditation standards and state and federal statutes may constitute negligence per se," he said. "It makes our case easier."
The cases of Kevin Smith and David Wayne McClurg, 55, as laid out in a pair of court complaints, were both booked into jail and subsequently denied access to medication or medical care.
McClurg was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on Oct. 23, 2007, where health-care screeners didn't recognize his diabetic symptoms, according to the claim, a condition McClurg didn't know he had, either.
While McClurg was in jail awaiting trial on an aggravated-DUI charge, his trial was continued repeatedly because his condition worsened, according to the claim.
Deputies took McClurg to
McClurg was sentenced in February 2008, but he remained in the hospital until he died on Sept. 24.
The claim attributes McClurg's death to his untreated diabetes.
His two sons are seeking compensation for the county's negligence, unconstitutional policies and deliberate indifference to medical needs, according to the claim.
Smith survived his stay in
"If you don't take your meds on a regular basis, you're subject to these uncontrollable seizures," Lassen said. "They (pass out medication) one time a day for their convenience as opposed to two to three times a day as the prescription requires."
Another inmate, Delyla Pierson-Winburn, filed a suit against the county in June after she claimed health-care employees also denied her medication.
County officials repeatedly have been told that Correctional Health Services operations are inadequate and pose a danger to inmates.
Over the past 10 years, faced with hundreds of lawsuits, a federal court order and the loss of accreditation, the Board of Supervisors has paid more than $250,000 to consultants to find solutions.
Since 1998, the county has paid $13 million in legal fees, settlements and jury verdicts to inmates and their families for injury and death claims against the Correctional Health Services.