Society is judged by the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens.
A man who was jailed for coming up $80 short on restitution costs for "supplying minors with alcohol" died in November of 2012 because prison medical staff did not provide him with the proper treatment. His mother is now filing a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Butler County Jail warden, the jail's medical staff, Butler Memorial Hospital, Butler County, Butler County commissioners, and Wexford Health Sources Incorporated.
The victim, a 27-year-old man from Butler, was serving jail time for failing to pay the full amount of restitution for a summary offense he committed years earlier. His mother is claiming that the jail's medical staff failed to address her son's symptoms for at least five days before they sent him to Butler Memorial Hospital, where he eventually died. Reports show the man died after he was put under anesthesia as hospital staff were preparing him for surgery to remove a hindrance in his bowels.
It's still unclear how long before the victim told his mother about pain that he filed an initial complaint with prison staff. The victim's mother believes his complaints weren't taken seriously until her son was in so much pain that jail staff had no choice but to treat him.
Wrongful death claims such as this are difficult to approach. Outsiders assume the victim was a common criminal because he was in jail, but little do they know that the mere failure to pay full restitution for a summary offense is what landed him behind bars. Although the victim was in jail, he deserved to be treated as humanely as anyone else. No one should suffer and medical staff is placed in correctional facilities to ensure those who need care receive it.