Neglect Blamed for|Death of Jailed Man

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – Officers and medical staff at the Richmond city jail repeatedly ignored a prisoner’s pleas for medical assistance, allowing him to die of a ruptured small intestines, the man’s brother claims in a lawsuit.
     The plaintiff, Robert Crosby, says his brother Michael was detained on April 12, 2014, and remained in jail for the final week of his life.
     During that time, the complaint says, Michael Crosby repeatedly sought medical treatment for vomiting, abdominal pain and severe discomfort radiating throughout his body, but his complaints went either completely or largely ignored.
     The Richmond Medical Examiner later concluded that Crosby died from “Peritonitis due to a perforated duodenal ulcer” – an acutely dangerous inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity resulting from a rupture to the small intestines and subsequent infection from the leakage, the complaint says.
     Robert Crosby says his brother reported a heroin addition of one gram per day when he was taken to jail, and that the facility’s protocols dictate that inmates confessing to such addition be evaluated for opiate withdrawal.
     Inmates scoring high on the clinical opiate withdrawal scale are ordinarily placed on a course of medication such Suboxone or Methadone, and remain under close supervision of medical staff.
     But none of this happened in the case of Michael Crosby, the complaint says.
     In addition, the complaint says, the jail’s medical staff failed to compile even rudimentary records for Crosby.
     “According to records obtained pre-litigation by Plaintiff’s counsel, the Scoring Sheet for COWS shows only two entries six days apart,” the complaint says. “Further, the two entries that are recorded are vastly incomplete; only the date, time, blood pressure and resting pulse rate are recorded … CCS personnel appear to have grossly failed in their monitoring of Mr. Cosby’s withdrawal process.”
     Robert Crosby says his brother was eventually moved to a separate wing of the facility, where his resting heart was found to have nearly doubled since he first received medical attention. Despite this, the jail staff recorded his vital signs as stable, and continued to dismiss his complaints of worsening stomach pain.
     According to the complaint, Robert Crosby has not even been able to find out precisely when his brother died.
     Crosby claims Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr. declined to provide his lawyers with actual log records from the jail, and in the weeks since Michael Crosby’s death, notations in his medical file were changed several times.
     Robert Crosby seeks $15 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.
     He is represented by Mark Krudys and Krudys Law Firm, and Charles Gavin, of Cawthorn, Deskevich & Gavin, both of Richmond.
     The Richmond City Sheriff’s Department did not return Courthouse News’ request for contact.

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