A Shocking Tale of Medical Neglect

     LITTLE ROCK (CN) – An Arkansas sheriff refused to provide medical attention to an inmate though one foot of “his colon [was] literally hanging outside of his body,” the man claims in Federal Court.
     Steven David Cook sued Saline County, its former Sheriff Bruce Pennington, Advanced Correctional Healthcare and five named employees of the Saline County Detention Center, on April 21.
     Cook claims that jailers obviously knew of his need for emergency medical treatment, but kept him jailed for four days, “lying in feces and blood in a dirty cell, exposed to germs and bacteria of all sorts, with his colon hanging out.”
     Cook, who also sued Dr. Roger L. Troxel and Andy Gill, an assistant Saline County prosecuting attorney, in his individual capacity, claims that when recommendations were made to release him to the hospital, Gill called the sheriff and said “that Cook ‘could push his rectum inside out ‘at will’ and that the Detention Center was not to release him.’
     “Gill is not a physician,” the complaint adds.
     “With so much of his colon literally hanging outside of his body, Cook knew full well that he was definitely in need of immediate medical attention, possibly surgery,” the complaint states. “As a non-medical person, Cook feared that, without immediate medical attention, he could suffer irreversible physical harm, possibly even death.”
     Cook claims that after his June 29, 2012 arrest, he informed jailers of his condition, and they “appeared to be aghast at the severity of the problem.”
     Troxel recommended that he be taken to the hospital, but gave no treatment orders as Cook remained in jail, according to the lawsuit.
     “During the interim period while Cook remained incarcerated in the Detention Center with his colon hanging out, per the instructions of Dr. Troxel, Cook received no medical care whatever from Troxel or Sonk,” Cook says in the complaint.
     He claims that Troxel gave specific instructions to the detention center nurse, LPN Glenn Sonk, that he “was not to touch ‘the guy.'”
     “Troxel’s specific instructions that Cook was not to be touched constituted deliberate indifference,” the lawsuit states.
     Cook claims that four days passed before he “was finally released with instructions to seek medical help.”
     “In the interim, for four (4) calendar days, Cook remained in a dirty, unsanitary cell with his colon exposed to germs and bacteria. During that time, he was bleeding and the colon was covered in part by blood and feces. During that time, he experienced very intense physical pain and, knowing that the colon was exposed to germs and bacteria, he feared that the exposed colon was becoming infected and would cause infection or disease to invade his entire body.”
     The Saline County Sheriff’s office did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.
     Pennington resigned in 2013 after pleading guilty to drunken driving charges and resisting arrest. The former sheriff is now facing felony abuse of trust and theft of property charges along with two other former Saline County Sheriff’s Office employees, according to Arkansas news reports.
     Cook seeks compensatory and punitive damages for constitutional and civil rights violations, cruel and unusual punishment, permanent injury, and emotional pain and suffering.
     He is represented by Edward Adcock of Little Rock.

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