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Diabetic Man Says|Jailers Nearly Killed Him

LONOKE, Ark. (CN) — A diabetic claims in a federal lawsuit that Arkansas jailers refused to let him take his insulin for three days, until he suffered a diabetic coma, whereupon a jailer told an ambulance paramedic, "He's been like that for days."

John Lancaster sued Lonoke County, its Sheriff John Staley, four jailers, and the administrator of the Lonoke County Detention Center on June 13.

Lancaster says he told jailers he was an insulin-dependent diabetic during his Dec. 1, 2015 booking, and his brother supplied the jail with his insulin.

He says that "virtually all of the detention center's personnel who had personal contact with prisoners knew Lancaster was in need of regular insulin," but they refused to let him take it, even when he was "naked in the cell, urinating on himself and the floor, visibly shaken and incoherent."

"Lancaster asked virtually all the jail's personnel for his insulin," the complaint states. "Throughout the next three days Lancaster became visibly more-and-more incapacitated.

After more than three days of this, he says, a jailer decided he could be sent to a hospital.

"When the paramedics were loading Lancaster into the ambulance one as-of-yet-unidentified jail staffers said, 'He's been like that for days,'" according to the complaint. "The jail staff was unable to tell the paramedics when Lancaster last ate and, certainly, were unable to advise when Lancaster had taken his insulin."

At the hospital, Lancaster says, "it was determined that he was suffering in a diabetic coma and, further, that his PH level was 6.7, dangerously high, possibly fatally high. It was medically impossible for Lancaster's PH level to be that high had he received his insulin while in the jail."

Lancaster says that the sheriff let his jailers "play doctor" at his expense.

The Lonoke County Sheriff's office, about 25 miles east of Little Rock, did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

Lancaster claims Lonoke County has a long history of disregarding the health of detention center inmates, including a recent incident in which the jail administrator allowed inmates to be fed contaminated food that was past its expiration date.

He seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, cruel and unusual punishment and pain and suffering.

He is represented by Edward G. Adcock and Daniel Hancock of Little Rock.

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