April V. Taylor
Family members of three inmates at the Madison County jail in Alabama have filed a lawsuit against the county and Advanced Correctional Healthcare (ACH), the private company contracted to provide medical care to inmates. The lawsuit alleges that the inmates suffered brutal mistreatment as staff denied them of necessary medical care for treatable, non-fatal conditions in order to save money.
Nikki Listau died within two days of entering the jail after suffering from a seizure caused by delirium tremens, a result of alcohol withdrawal. Listau suffered blunt-force trauma and internal injuries after falling off of her bunk during the seizure. Delirium tremens is a treatable condition.
Deundrez Woods died two months after being booked into the Madison County Jail. Woods had gangrene that was allegedly not being treated. According to reports, Woods had an open wound on his foot and began hallucinating. Rather than provide him with any medical treatment, officers tased him three separate times for being uncooperative. Despite his wound having an obvious stench, officers allowed him to lie naked on the floor in a medical watch cell, removing him only to drag him to the shower to house of the stench. Despite the fact that Woods had stopped eating and drinking for days and had become unresponsive, his vital signs were never monitored.
Tanisha Jefferson died within weeks of being arrested after not being treated for a bowel obstruction. She had complained to staff about severe abdominal pain for more than a week and eventually filed a formal grievance about not receiving medical care.
Family members are accusing the county and health care providers with refusing to transfer their loved ones to a hospital for treatment until it was too late to save their lives just to save money. Thelitigation has been filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama for violations of the 14th Amendment that include negligence and deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Families are seeking punitive damages, compensatory damages and recovery of attorneys fees.
The Madison County jail has refused to comment.