PHOENIX (CN) - "America's toughest sheriff" Joe Arpaio forced a wheelchair-bound inmate to reuse catheters, giving him an antibiotic-resistant infection that cost him half of one buttock, the man claims in court.
Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio, who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, has been sued 127 times in the past 5 years, often on civil rights charges, according to the Courthouse News database. Phoenix-area voters last year re-elected the 81-year-old man to a fifth term.
John Robert Franklin sued Arpaio, Maricopa County, and the Maricopa County Special Health Care District in Superior Court.
A 2006 car crash gave Franklin a "spinal cord injury, nerve damage in his back and a crushed pelvis," he says in the lawsuit. As a result, he has "limited ambulation, can walk short distances only, and cannot stand upright or for long periods. He uses a wheelchair and has a service dog. He also has limited sensation below his waist."
According to court records, Franklin was arrested in October 2012 on drug-related charges and negligent homicide.
He claims that he while he was incarcerated in the Lower Buckeye Jail he was forced to reuse catheters denied medication, and was forced to sit for long periods of time, causing him to develop open wounds on his buttocks that became infected by Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.
After suffering the defendants' medical malpractice and negligence in jail, Franklin claims, when he was released he underwent surgery to remove the infected wounds which "had tunneled into his flesh."
"The infected tissue and muscle was removed from one-half of one side of his buttocks," the lawsuit states. "He also was required to undergo a month long regimen of intravenous antibiotics to rid his body of the infection. Subsequent to the surgery, he was transferred to Kindred Hospital, a recovery facility, for approximately one month. He continues to require health care for the wounds sustained while incarcerated."
Maricopa County does not comment on pending litigation.
Franklin seeks damages for negligence, medical malpractice, and violations of the Arizonans with Disabilities Act.
He is represented by Thomas Burnett of Mesa.Follow @@jamierossCNS
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