San Diego County will be required by a federal jury verdict to pay out $3 million to family members of a man who died in jail after suffering an asthma attack during his heroin detoxing process. According to the verdict, the county and two individual nurses violated the man’s right to appropriate care while in jail, and failed in their duty to check jail cells of drug-addicted inmates dealing with detoxing.
The family of the victim has sued the county and its sheriff’s department with claims of cruel and unusual punishment and wrongful death. The victim was 21 years old and at the time of his death was serving a sentence for heroin possession while on probation. He was found dead in his cell two days after his arrest, and forensic testing revealed that he had died after suffering an asthma attack due to heroin withdrawal.
Lawyers from the county claim that the victim had lied about using drugs when he was originally booked into jail and even had refused medical treatment. However, the jury clearly found otherwise in their decision, determining the county and nurses to be liable in the case.
Jail and prison inmates still have certain rights that must be respected by authorities, including the right to proper medical care. When these rights are violated, prisons and local government entities open themselves up to potential negligence lawsuits.
If a loved one has died after receiving improper medical care, consult a skilled San Diego wrongful death attorney with Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire. You may have the option of seeking compensation through a wrongful death claim.