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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Inmate Dies for|Lack of Dialysis

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A Utah inmate died just weeks away from freedom after a dialysis technician repeatedly no-showed, the Utah Corrections Department says.

Ramon Estrada died April 5 of an apparent heart attack related to kidney failure.

Medical staff and outside responders were preparing to transport Estrada from Utah State Prison to University Medical Center for treatment when he died, the prisons department said.

Prisons spokeswoman Brooke Adams said that a preliminary review showed lack of dialysis treatment could be a contributing factor in Estrada's death.

Estrada was scheduled to receive kidney dialysis at the prison's on-site treatment center, on Friday, April 3.

But a technician with Sandy-based South Valley Dialysis, a University of Utah medical clinic, did not show at the prison on Friday or Saturday, the prisons department says.

Six additional inmates who required dialysis treatment but had not received it were taken to the medical center for evaluation after Estrada died.

Two inmates were reported to be in good condition and returned to the prison. Four were admitted for treatment, and three were returned to the prison on Monday evening. One remained hospitalized for another day.

"The delayed response in ensuring that the inmates' received needed medical care is unacceptable," Adams said.

An internal investigation is underway and expected to be completed in two weeks, Adams said Friday.

The prison's medical director was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation's outcome.

"The department has taken immediate action to improve communication with and oversight of the dialysis contract provider," Adams said.

Steps include obtaining a schedule calendar with contact telephone numbers for dialysis technicians, requiring nursing staff to make contact with and receive post-treatment reports from the on-duty technician on dialysis days, improving chart notes about inmates' status and condition, and requiring timely notification to the charge nurse when a dialysis schedule changes or technician fails to show up.

Estrada was jailed in 2005 on a rape conviction and had a parole date of April 21.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service had a detainer for Estrada, a Mexican national.

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