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Oklahoma: family says inmate died of appendicitis as pleas for help were ignored


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The family of a man who died in a Oklahoma prison last year are suing correctional officials and medical staff for allegedly ignoring his repeated pleas for help as he died from untreated appendicitis.


Joshua England, who was 21, made five separate written requests for medical aid as his condition deteriorated over a week in the Joseph Harp correctional center in Lexington, Oklahoma.


But the “callous and deliberate indifference” of staff at the prison meant he died from a ruptured appendix on 29 May last year, according to a lawsuit lodged by England’s mother, Christina Smith.


“Joshua’s death was preventable,” said Katie Rosenfeld, an attorney for the family. “In 2019, no one should die in prison of appendicitis. If he had been given the most basic medical treatment, Joshua would still be alive today.”


England was serving a 343-day sentence for arson when he complained of severe abdominal pain. According to the lawsuit, during repeated visits to the prison clinic England said he could not sleep or eat and had pain so severe he could “barely breathe”.


No doctor was called and he was sent away with painkillers and laxatives.


On his fifth attempt to get medical help, on 29 May, England again said the pain was so bad he couldn’t breathe. The lawsuit states that witnesses reported him hyperventilating, curled up in pain, rocking back and forth and crying. An examination showed that his heart rate was 158 beats a minute


These findings should, the lawsuit states, have “alerted clinic staff that Joshua was facing a dire medical emergency and that he needed lifesaving intervention at a hospital immediately. Instead, defendants continued to ignore Joshua and his complaints, and failed to render an abdominal examination”.



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:angry: Hope that family wins. I do understand the medical rules in jail, but this goes beyond that...

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Most medical contracts for prison/jail work get their profit based on how much money they have leftover, the easiest way to do that is to deny care.  I've seen many times myself inside a local jail, jail medical care isn't a place to be if you need help.

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