US Marijuana Party

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Medical lapse caused death of inmate, autopsy finds

Yesterday should have been Ricky Douglas' 40th birthday.

Rather than a day of celebration, it was the day Douglas' autopsy report was released, revealing for the first time that the diabetic Metro Jail inmate died after not receiving medicine to treat his illness, even after requesting it from his cell.

His autopsy report follows a recent admission by the city's private health-care provider for inmates, Brentwood-based Prison Health Services, that the company made critical errors in providing care for Douglas in the hours before his death Jan. 19.

''It does appear that there were individual failings in following policies, and you had this adverse result,'' said Bob Eadie, deputy director of the Metro Department of Public Health. ''Whatever consequences come from Mr. Douglas' death, Prison Health Services will be held accountable for those.''

Douglas' family has retained the Memphis law firm led by famed attorney Johnnie Cochran. Archie Sanders III, the attorney who is investigating the death for Cochran's firm, said the autopsy report indicates that Davidson County sheriff's staff, the Metro Public Health Department and the private contractor all bear responsibility for the death.


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