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Medical malpractice lawsuit seeks $12.5 million in damages

Drug addiction is difficult for families in California and across the country. In addition to the physical consequences, those addicted often face time in jail. Because those in prison are unable to seek medical care on their own, they are often left at the mercy of the corrections center jailing them and the doctors at the jail. Unfortunately, one out-of-state woman claims in a medical malpractice lawsuit that her son, who was battling heroin addiction, died as a result of opiate withdrawal because medical care providers at the jail failed to provide appropriate care.

The 26-year-old man at the center of the case entered the corrections center -- named as a defendant along with the facility's medical care provider and the treating physician -- in Dec. 2014. At the time of his booking, he reportedly notified staff that he was addicted to heroin which he had used within the last 24 hours. Although medical staff claim they initiated their withdrawal protocol, the lawsuit accuses medical staff of failing to recognize that more serious interventions were required.

Three days after he was booked into the facility, he was transported to the hospital suffering weakness, an unsteady gait, diarrhea and vomiting -- all symptoms of opioid withdrawal. He died the same day he was transferred to the hospital. A medical malpractice lawsuit was recently filed by his mother on his behalf. The lawsuit is seeking $12.5 million in damages -- $5 million in punitive and $7.5 million in compensatory. A representative for the family claims that the man leaves behind three children, one who was born after he passed away.

Unfortunately, a person in jail is at the mercy of those jailing him when it comes to medical care. If adequate care is not provided, he or she has no opportunity to seek better options. Fortunately, those in California who are harmed as a result of medical malpractice, or their surviving family members in the event of a fatality, have a path to justice. A successfully presented lawsuit can force facilities such as these to reevaluate their procedures and can also result in an award of damages that ensures full accountability for negligence that causes serious harm, or worse.

Source: toledoblade.com, "Family of man who died in jail files suit", Jennifer Feehan, Nov. 26, 2016

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