As in other states, inmates in Pennsylvania jails have the right to appropriate medical care when required. Some inmates have existing medical conditions that require treatment, and some may also have special dietary needs. A county jail in another state is accused of medical negligence in a federal lawsuit that was filed on Feb. 1. Several medical staff members, the sheriff and his deputies, along with the county were named as defendants by the former inmate and his wife.
The complaint states that the man, who was incarcerated in 2014, had an existing intestinal condition that required a special diet. When he developed severe abdominal pain on Feb. 2, he asked to be seen by his doctor. However, he alleges that his request was denied; instead, he was transferred to a cell that was segregated from the others. He further contends that he only saw a doctor on Feb. 8. Because his condition had deteriorated by then, he was transported to a hospital on Feb. 9.
A medical examination upon admittance showed revealed that severe infection had caused his intestine to rupture, necessitating an emergency surgical procedure. In addition to removing a significant part of his intestine, a colostomy bag had to be fitted before his return to prison on Feb. 17. The lawsuit claims that the jail was not equipped to change the colostomy bag and provide other necessary medical care; as a consequence, the inmate's wife was contacted to change the bag on Feb. 18. He was released into her care on the following day.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants' indifference to his dietary restrictions was deliberate and that medical negligence caused the subsequent emergency procedure. Along with the husband's claim for compensatory damages and legal fees, his wife claims loss of consortium. Any person who believes his or her medical condition was not adequately cared for while incarcerated in Pennsylvania retains the right to pursue a claim for compensation for financial and emotional losses sustained.
Source: madisonrecord.com, "Couple accuses Franklin County, sheriff of medical negligence", Molly English-Bowers, Feb. 3, 2016