Medical malpractice alleged at Rikers Island

Friday July 18, 2014

When someone is in the custody of law enforcement, he or she has a right to medical treatment. If that treatment is not received and an inmate’s condition worsens or even becomes fatal, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be able to recoup damages such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, wrongful death or even final expenses. For one woman in jail in Connecticut’s neighboring state of New York, a lack of medical treatment allegedly led to her death.

The death was reported after another woman released from Rikers Island, which is where arrestees are held for the New York City Police Department. The woman, who is an Occupy Wall Street activist, told reporters that one female prisoner in her unit suffered from liver cancer and Hepatitis C. The prisoner was reportedly given “excessive amounts of the painkiller methadone.” The released woman said that the sick inmate was “coughing up blood accompanied with what we believe were chunks of her liver.”

The released woman said that the sick inmate was taken to the hospital too late – she died there. There are allegations that health care was not provided to the sick woman when it was requested.

It is not known if the deceased inmate’s family will seek compensation due to medical malpractice. The Department of Corrections, which operates Rikers Island, released a statement that said the facility is “committed to providing high quality care for all inmates, who enter the jail system with significantly higher rates of disease, including HIV, hepatitis C, asthma, hypertension and substance use, than the general population.”

Source: Source: Huffington Post, “Occupy Wall Street Activist Cecily McMillan Charges ‘Medical Malpractice’ In Rikers Death,” Matt Sledge, July 2, 2014

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