HOUSTON (CN) – A Texan claims a county jail’s medical staff ignored his stomach-pain complaints and his appendix ruptured, opening a huge hole in his gut “with excrement oozing” for months before surgeons repaired his colon.
Daniel Paul Dobbs, 26, sued Montgomery County, its Sheriff Tommy Gage and dozens of county employees on Saturday in Houston federal court, seeking more than $1 million for his medical bills.
Dobbs, who has two young kids, alleges a Montgomery County deputy constable arrested him in November 2014 on a failure-to-appear warrant after pulling over the car he was riding in.
Though a magistrate judge said Dobbs needed a mental health evaluation because he was hearing voices, Dobbs says staff at the county jail in Conroe, an hour north of Houston, would not give him his psych drugs.
Dobbs refused to get out of bed the morning after he was booked and a jailer punched his mouth, drawing blood, according to jail records cited in the lawsuit.
“He was put into a spitting hood and chair restraints. Daniel Dobbs was kept in the restraint chair for almost eight hours…[Officer] Cortney D. Poe alleges that other inmates state that Daniel Dobbs planned the incident in order to get medical care and his medicine, which he had not received in four days,” the complaint states. Poe is not a defendant in the lawsuit.
Starting on Dec. 21, 2014, Dobbs says, he repeatedly complained about “unbearable pain in his abdominal area” to the jail’s nurses, but they “did not take him seriously and deliberately ignored his outcries” even though he rarely left his bunk due to the pain.
Dobbs was having trouble breathing and blood was found in his stool a few days later, according to infirmary records cited in the complaint.
He claims he asked to see a doctor, not a nurse, six times over the next week as the pain in his lower right side got worse.
Dobbs says defendant Dr. Syed Ahmed finally saw him, but the antacid and pain reliever the doctor prescribed did him no good.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 3, 2015, “infirmary records indicate that Daniel Dobbs came into infirmary for the third time today complaining of pain. Patient Dobbs stated pain on a 100 scale and that he is constipated. Patient stated he [had] thrown up 4 times in [the] last 24 hrs., has pain on lower right side and wants to go to the hospital,” the complaint states.
Dobbs’ appendix ruptured the next day and he was rushed to an emergency room. He underwent 11 surgeries over the next three months, but after all that he had infected holes in his colon, according to the complaint.
“Dobbs was released from the hospital on March 4, 2015, with a hole in his abdomen due to need for a surgically diverted biological system for the elimination of waste,” the lawsuit states.
Dobbs says the hole was so big a colostomy bag would not fit.
“Dan was forced to live with an open wound, under constant need of treatment for infection, with excrement oozing out for nearly 6 months. Dobbs situation did not improve until he was able to undergo a colon resection in August of 2015,” the complaint alleges. Colon resection is the removal of a piece of the organ.
Facing more than $1 million in hospital bills, Dobbs seeks punitive damages for claims of civil rights violations and gross negligence. He is represented by Randall Kallinen in Houston.
In addition to the county and its sheriff, Dobbs sued law enforcement and medical staff, 20 John Doe jailers and Correctional Healthcare Companies Inc. and Correct Care Solutions LLC, contractors the county hired to provide medical services at the jail.
Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright said Tuesday morning he was not aware of the lawsuit because the county had not yet been served.