MEMPHIS (CN) - Private prison guards let a suicidal prisoner suffer seizures, lapse into a coma and die of a drug overdose, and merely "put the decedent in an observation cell and ... check(ed) his vital signs every six hours," his family claims in Federal Court. The family sued the Corrections Corporation of America and several of its employees, including two doctors.
Corrections Corporation of America runs the West Tennessee Detention Facility, where Alan Young died on April 11, 2009, according to the complaint. Young's family claims the prison staff knew he was suicidal and that he was saving up the psychotropic medications he was given daily so that he could take them all at once to commit suicide.
The staff "did not take any measures to ensure that he was actually taking the medication that they were giving him," according to the complaint.
The family says they repeatedly told the facility's doctors that Young, a husband and father of two, was suicidal and had said he was going to save up the pills.
Hours before Young died, his cellmate noticed he had thrown up "some orange substance with pill fragments in it," and he informed the guards, the family says.
The guards found Young unresponsive in his bed so they told Nurse Andrea Scott, who reported it to Dr. Gerald Stipanuk, the complaint states. Stipanuk "told her to simply put the decedent in an observation cell and to check his vital signs every six hours," according to the complaint.
The family says the staff treated Young with deliberate indifference until he died from a series of seizures. And they claim that Scott "falsified the records in this case to protect herself."
When Young went into cardiac arrest, and prison workers finally brought a defibrillator to tend to him, the defibrillator "didn't even work," the complaint states.
Young's family seeks damages for negligence, constitutional violations and loss of consortium.
They are represented by Jeffery Rosenblum with Rosenblum & Reisman.
One of the largest private prison companies in the world, CCA imprisons 75,000 people in more than 60 prisons, the company says on its Web site.