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Pittsburgh family files wrongful death suit after death of inmate

No matter the environment an individual is in, when he or she is experiencing health problems, it is presumed that proper steps will be taken by medical professionals. Even in situations where a patient is in jail or prison, employees of the institution are required to take appropriate steps to ensure proper medical treatment of inmates.

The mistreatment and neglect of inmates could lead loved ones to file civil actions against prisons located in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the nation. One family recently filed a wrongful death suit after an inmate at the Alleghany County Jail died of a seizure disorder earlier this year. The man allegedly told jail staff that he needed medication for his condition but was not prescribed it.

The 39-year-old man, who suffered from chronic epileptic seizures, was put in jail in January for theft, forgery and other charges. He took anti-seizure medication twice a day. The lawsuit alleges that the man told the staff that without medication, he could experience a "grand mal seizure," which could involve a loss of consciousness and severe muscle contractions. Staff members did not look at his medical records, which would have indicated that he had received his medication when he had done time in the past.

The man's attorney alleges that there was a failure to train and supervise the employees at the jail, as well as a failure to implement policies that ensure that the inmates receive appropriate medical care. However, representatives for Corizon Health staff deny any wrongdoing and say that the staff acted appropriately in providing the man with medical treatment.

The county medical examiner's office has reported that the seizure disorder was in fact the immediate cause of death, but the manner of death is still unclear. A "physical restraint in prone position" was also mentioned as a related "significant condition."

In any case, standards of care must be upheld in the prison environment. Failure to adhere to these standards could mean a wrongful death lawsuit and damages for the family who lost their loved one.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Wrongful death suit filed in Alleghany County Jail inmate case," Molly Born, July 11, 2015

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