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Wrongful death lawsuit filed after inmate dies of ruptured ulcer

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a 40-year-old man who died last year in Louisiana's East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. According to an autopsy, the man died from a stomach lining tear that allowed gastric acids to end up in his abdominal cavity. This is known as a perforated peptic ulcer, and while the coroner of the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner said it is serious, it is not always fatal when treatment is received in time.

The lawsuit claims the inmate filed out three medical request forms about his stomach, although he did not turn them in. He allegedly told several deputies about his symptoms, though, including stomach pain, protracted vomiting, insomnia and acid reflex, according to claims by the plaintiff. In addition, there were no vital signs taken by jail personnel, according to the lawsuit.

According to the plaintiff's attorney, rigor mortis had set in when deputies found the deceased inmate and he said that takes at least three hours. The attorney also said the deputies "ignored him and ... didn't get him to a hospital in time."

The East Baton Rouge Parish Emergency Medical Services is responsible for the treatment of inmates in the prison, but has not released any information as to the man's death or his treatment while in the facility. They say it is a violation of confidentiality laws.

The man was incarcerated last October for violating a firearm-free zone, resisting arrest, and for possession of Schedule II drugs, as well as other charges. He was treated for facial fractures on the day he was brought to the jail from an assault that occurred earlier in the day. The lawsuit does not allege that any of those injuries were connected to the man's death.

When someone is in the care and custody of law enforcement, it is up to the law enforcement professionals to ensure he or she receives proper medical care. This includes transfer to a medical facility. If you believe a loved one suffered because of similar circumstances as the ones listed above, contact a Louisiana wrongful death attorney to learn more about a possible civil lawsuit.

theadvocate.com, "Lawsuit claims deputies ignored dying inmate's pleas" Jim Mustian, Jun. 28, 2013

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