Can a person sue a penitentiary if the medical staff was negligent by not getting timely medical treatment for an inmate?

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Can a person sue a penitentiary if the medical staff was negligent by not getting timely medical treatment for an inmate?

Inmate sought medical treatment on 3 separate occasions (over a period of several hours) for unusual blood loss during menstrual cycle. Was told to “go lie down” after falling unconscious due to blood loss and being rendered unable to walk. After shift changed, the inmate was able to get corrections officer to help lift her out of bed and get her to the medical unit. Her blood pressure was 40 over 60 the chaplain was called, per protocol, the yard was closed and claimant rushed to nearby hospital. ER personnel worked 9 hours on the inmate, who needed 4 units of blood (she almost died). 

Asked on September 14, 2010 under Personal Injury, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is possible, and would be worthwhile for the person affected to speak with an attorney. A prison and its staff have an obligation to provide medical care to the inmates. If they breach that obligation, whether negligently (carelessly, through bad training or poor supervision, etc.) or deliberate (i.e. intentionally), they might be liable for any injuries which resulted. Since (1) there's often a short period of time to sue a government agency, and (2) the law affecting prision is rather specialized, the person involved or affected should consult with an attorney who has handled prisoner lawsuits immediately, before  more time passes. If she doesn't know any, possible a legal aid society or the public defender's office could help recommend one.


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