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Lawsuit filed against Sheriff’s Office, jail medical provider

By Staff | Aug 11, 2009

A 27-year-old Bokeelia man filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott and the jail’s medical provider, alleging that he walked into the jail a healthy man and left paralyzed a month later.
The lawsuit filed by Brett Allen Fields against Scott and Tennessee-based Prison Health Services comes just days after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was investigating the death of a Lee County jail inmate who was pepper sprayed in March.
Prison Health Services has been the target of lawsuits nationwide involving poor medical care. Several obtained settlements, but an Idaho state jury awarded a 30-year-old state prison inmate and her 4-year-old son $3.6 million after she gave birth on a prison ramp and her baby was run over and now suffers from cerebral palsy. In April 2007, a 37-year-old Tampa woman who gave birth over a Hillsborough County jail toilet accepted a $1.25 million settlement as a federal jury was deliberating her lawsuit. Her baby died.
John Van Mol, a spokesman for Prison Health Services, and Tony Schall, a spokesman for Scott, said they do not comment on pending litigation.
Fields’ lawsuit says he was booked into the Lee County jail on July 6, 2007, and requested medical attention four days later for an infected wound on his left arm. A nurse examined him and prescribed an antibiotic.
Two weeks later, on July 24, 2007, after the infection hadn’t healed, he filled out an “Inmate Medical Request Form,” but it was ignored by the sheriff and medical staff, the lawsuit says. In early August, the lawsuit says, he began to suffer from severe back pains, difficulty standing up, numbness and weakness in his lower body.
The lawsuit says he pleaded with medical staff and sheriff’s employees, asking for medical help and saying he hadn’t urinated in days, but his pleas were ignored.
The evening of Aug. 7, 2007, a nurse examined him and he told her of neurological problems and the physical symptoms, including numbness and weakness in his legs. She scheduled an exam for the next morning.
When he was examined by a physician’s assistant that morning, the lawsuit says, he could no longer walk and was confined to a wheelchair.

Source: Reprinted with permission of the Naples Daily News