Man Paralyzed in Jail Files Lawsuit against Lee County, Florida Sheriff


A man who claims his paralysis is due to medical neglect has filed a personal injury suit against the Lee County Sheriff. The 27-year-old man alleges he requested medical attention for an infected would on his arm four days after entering the jail. A nurse’s examination revealed it as a boil and prescribed an antibiotic called Bactrim. Two weeks later, the wound has still not healed.

The inmate filed an “Inmate Medical Request Form,” which was allegedly ignored by both the sheriff and medical personnel. He began to suffer back pain, numbness and weakness in his lower body, and was having trouble standing up. The suit alleges he begged for medical attention and that he hadn’t urinated in days. Finally, he was seen by a nurse who scheduled an exam for the following morning.

By this time, the inmate could no longer walk and was confined to a wheelchair. He told the physician’s assistant who examined him about the boil and his neurological difficulties. The physician’s assistant gave him Tylenol and sent him back to his cell.

Two days later, the inmate suffered rectal prolapse, a condition in which the intestines are visible outside the body. Cellmates alerted the staff, who pushed his insides back in and removed him. The inmate then waited for 12 hours to be seen by a doctor, though rectal prolapsed is a serious condition.

The inmate was finally transferred to Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center with near total paraplegia. He was diagnosed by hospital staff with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-related abscess in his spine. He underwent immediate surgery.

Two years later, the plaintiff still suffers from partial paralysis in both legs for an injury both he and his lawyer allege could have been easily avoided had he received proper care while in jail. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating the plaintiff’s Eighth and 14th Amendment Rights- right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and fright to due process as a citizen (remember: inmates are still citizens), and by intentionally refusing and denying him adequate medical care.

The plaintiff is seeking compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, and medical and legal expenses.

It’s easy to think of inmates as less than we are, and it may be hard to extend sympathy to people who have done sometimes horrible things. However, protecting these people who are already serving their debt to society is what separates the US from dictatorships around the globe. They still have the same rights as citizens of this country and still deserve to be treated humanely. This is forgotten by many.