COVINGTON, Ky. – The Campbell County jail subjects prisoners to cruel and unusual punishment and denies them medical treatment and prescribed medications, a federal class action claims. The named plaintiffs, who say their family member died in jail from deliberate medical indifference, claims the jail’s staff assaults inmates, uses “weapons and chemical substances on them,” and has sex with locked-up women.
The class claims that jailers and their contract medical workers, from Chattanooga-based defendant Southern Health Partners, deprive prisoners of “the bare essentials of medical care” by refusing to provide “necessary medications prescribed by recognized medical authorities.”
Inmates are “deprived of medications by the jail staff to incite poor inmate behavior and for the amusement of the jail employees,” according to the federal complaint.
Southern Health employee Dr. Ron Waldridge, the jail’s head physician, told jail workers to “stop contacting him about inmates who frequently sought medical care despite knowing that the inmates were in serious need of medical treatment,” according to the complaint.
Waldridge “denied a mammogram to an inmate known to have a lump in her breast despite the inmate’s numerous requests for medical attention,” claiming the jail’s policy “restricted access to a mammogram until 40 years of age,” the complaint states.
The class claims that Southern Health Partners nurse Jamie Winters denied a medical care to a prisoner who was at “risk of losing her unborn child” and “had continuous bleeding for several days.”
Prisoners are “placed in the ‘hole’ or punished in other methods” to “suppress” complaints about improper medical care, the class adds.
The named plaintiffs say their family member, Ernest Dunaway, was “diagnosed with anemia and other medical conditions” shortly before he was jailed in February 2009. They say the jail’s medical personnel ignored his complaints for several months, including “kidney infection, discolored urine, severe back pain and inability to sleep on his side.” He died of a hemorrhagic cerebral infarction three days before he was to be released from jail, according to the complaint.
The class seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and punitive damages for constitutional and civil rights violations, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The class is represented by Eric Deters of Independence, Ky.