+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    KingSky is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3

    Refused medical treatment while in jail, found out later had a subdural hemmorhage

    What is the name of your state? MN

    The story thus far...

    -----------------------

    On Sept. 8th at 2am I was driving home drunk and rolled my car. There were no other passengers.

    I was able to get out of the car myself. I do not remember anything from that night except for arriving at the police station and trying to answer questions. According to the police report I had obvious head injuries. I remember apologizing to the officer that I could not answer what year it was, or who was president. I found out later that I told them that I was uninjured, and signed a paper saying that so they did not send me to the hospital. They did tell me to let them know if I became dizzy or nauseous, or if my head started hurting severely.

    Later that afternoon (Saturday) after attempting to eat breakfast, my head was hurting very severely. I became nauseous and vomited, and then asked to speak with an officer. I told them what was happening and that I was concerned that something was wrong. They told me there was no nurse on the weekend, there was nothing they could/would do, and that they would have a nurse see me first thing Monday morning. I spent the rest of the day in bed sleeping and trying not to throw up.

    The next day, I was still having severe head pain and nausea. I vomited again and proceeded to black out for a few seconds. Also, my eyes began tracking from left to right and would not stop for about 30 minutes. I finally got up the courage and asked to speak to an officer again. Again, I was told that there was nothing they could do, that they would check on me (they never did), and that they would have the nurse see me first thing Monday morning.

    On Monday I was never seen by the nurse. Because everyone else was being called for court, I assumed that I would be released by the judge so that I could go to the doctor. Because of this, I did not ask again to see the nurse. I just waited. Unfortunately, I ended up not actually getting called to go to court until around 6:30pm, when I was released.

    I debated the next day about going to the hospital to get checked out, but because I don't currently have health insurance, did not go on Tuesday. However, on Wednesday I found out my car insurance would pay for it, so I went in and spoke with a doctor.

    He said there was evidence of head trauma, and had me get a CT scan. The CT scan showed that there was a subdural hemmorhage. The doctor told me flat out- "If you had been brought in to the hospital on Saturday morning, you would STILL be here for observation.".

    However, since it had been about the same time that they would have kept me for observation, he did not put me in the hospital. He did give me explicit instructions to not lift anything, not lay on the back side of my head, and come in if there was any dizziness or pain whatsoever.

    -----------------------

    I have hired a lawyer who tells me that I probably do not have much of a claim against the jail for the fact that they did not get me medical attention. I understand that when you're in jail you lose some rights, but it seems like the fact they would not provide me with basic medical attention... there is something wrong with that.

    I have been told that I should also speak with other lawyers... that some lawyers that are local don't like to 'muddy the waters' by trying to fight a case too vigorously.

    I did give my lawyer a copy of my medical records and had him serve a 'notice of potential claim' to the Police Department.

    My question here is: is my lawyer right? Is there anything I can do? What should I do? I understand that I signed a waiver that said I was not injured, but is that waiver applicable if I have a head injury and don't know what I am doing? Especially if I remember very little from the night of the accident? And even if it is, what about asking for help repeatedly on the following days?

    Don't get me wrong- I know I screwed up and don't expect to get out of getting a DWI or deserved punishment, but still, they could have killed me.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    -Kevin
    Last edited by KingSky; 10-12-2007 at 11:51 PM.
  2. #2
    outonbail is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,515
    Well, you're still alive and I don't see where you're claiming that the police inflicted any injuries and you haven't suffered any damages other than what you did to yourself when you decided to drive drunk.

    You won't get very far suing the police for what you believe "could" have happened.
    So I have to agree with the advice you received from your lawyer on this one.



    BTW, puking on jail food is nothing new.
  3. #3
    KingSky is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3
    You're right, I'm not saying the police inflicted any harm on me... only that they neglected to let me see a doctor or followup with the nurse. It seems like you should be able to see a doctor if you are honestly injured, but I don't know the details of that. Maybe you lose the right to medical attention when you are in jail?

    I would like to believe that this would not happen to other people in the future- what if somebody really does die because they aren't allowed medical treatment when they say they need it?

    I also understand the flip-side of this coin... if people are complaining they need medical attention every Tom, Dick and Harry in the place is going to say they need it. Not sure what the answer is, requiring a nurse on the weekend doesn't seem out of line.

    As for puking on jail food, I have a strong stomach. It wasn't the food
    I guess I should have fasted.

    Thanks for the answer.
  4. #4
    las365 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,926
    Quote Originally Posted by KingSky View Post
    You're right, I'm not saying the police inflicted any harm on me... only that they neglected to let me see a doctor or followup with the nurse. It seems like you should be able to see a doctor if you are honestly injured, but I don't know the details of that. Maybe you lose the right to medical attention when you are in jail?

    I would like to believe that this would not happen to other people in the future- what if somebody really does die because they aren't allowed medical treatment when they say they need it?

    I also understand the flip-side of this coin... if people are complaining they need medical attention every Tom, Dick and Harry in the place is going to say they need it. Not sure what the answer is, requiring a nurse on the weekend doesn't seem out of line.

    As for puking on jail food, I have a strong stomach. It wasn't the food
    I guess I should have fasted.

    Thanks for the answer.
    You appear to have a good grasp of the reality of the situation. You might consider contacting civil rights organizations that work on behalf of incarcerated people to see whether you can focus some attention on the jail you were in; at least then you'll know you've done something about the "principle of the thing" and can move on.
  5. #5
    TinkerBelleLuvr is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    With Capt'n Hook
    Posts
    11,278
    I was able to get out of the car myself. I do not remember anything from that night except for arriving at the police station and trying to answer questions. According to the police report I had obvious head injuries. I remember apologizing to the officer that I could not answer what year it was, or who was president. I found out later that I told them that I was uninjured, and signed a paper saying that so they did not send me to the hospital.
    were you still intoxicated when you told them you were uninjured?
  6. #6
    outonbail is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,515
    Quote Originally Posted by KingSky View Post
    You're right, I'm not saying the police inflicted any harm on me... only that they neglected to let me see a doctor or followup with the nurse. It seems like you should be able to see a doctor if you are honestly injured, but I don't know the details of that. Maybe you lose the right to medical attention when you are in jail?
    No, you don't lose the right to seek medical attention in jail. It's just that the officers who had you booked, first tried to get you checked out before they took you to jail. They always request an "OK to book" from a hospital emergency staff and/or doctor before they actually place someone in a cell. However you signed a release, stating that you were voluntarily refusing medical aid. When you did so, you basically released them of a lot of the responsibility to ensure you're healthy enough to go to jail.
    Now if you were so out of it, that you couldn't consciously make that decision, then that's another matter. However, you did end up surviving the incident and apparently, no worse for the wear. Hence, there are no damages or injuries which resulted from their refusing you medical attention and therefore, nothing to hold them responsible for. The fact that you "could" have had a serious condition doesn't matter.

    I would like to believe that this would not happen to other people in the future- what if somebody really does die because they aren't allowed medical treatment when they say they need it?
    Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Then here is an investigation, the jail staff puts on a dog and pony show through the investigation and are rarely found to be at fault.
    Look at it this way, everyone has seen a fair share of police brutality on the news and on internet sites because so many people today carry video cameras and cell phone cameras, that many police incidents are recorded. This is the reason charges have been brought against officers and the reason city's have paid out huge settlements in recent years. Because when video recordings exist, it is no longer a matter of the officers word over that of the suspect. Law enforcement is well aware of this trend to record police activities, yet even when officers are chasing suspects in stolen cars, with the knowledge that there are four or five television helicopters following the chase and recording their actions, you still see some of these officers lose control and beat up suspects who no longer pose a threat to anyone.

    Now consider what is going on in jails, where the officers and deputies know full well that there is no chance of anyone shooting a video of an incident. When someone does file a lawsuit for assault or wrongful death, it is again the officers word against who? another inmate? I think we know who the public is going to believe in these situations.
    So jail is not somewhere you want to be and to a large extent, this is a good thing. If it was fun to be in there, they would really have an overcrowding problem.
    I also understand the flip-side of this coin... if people are complaining they need medical attention every Tom, Dick and Harry in the place is going to say they need it. Not sure what the answer is, requiring a nurse on the weekend doesn't seem out of line.
    I agree 100 percent. In fact, I believe that most counties do in fact have a medical staff available 24/7 for emergencies. I know they do in the county jails and state prisons in California. I would think most all states require a medical staff to be on duty at all times. Now what the law requires, could depending on the number of inmates housed in a particular jail, and I haven't researched the actual laws which would dictate this so I'm just guessing.
    It is entirely possible that the guards told you that there was no nurse available because they just didn't believe you and blew you off as feeding them a line of BS, which is often the case.

    You can try to get the ACLU involved, however I'm betting there are already laws covering this issue. Should you find yourself in this situation again, I suggest you make more of a ruckus if you need medical aid. Have a cell mate push the button and tell them your down and had a seizure. I'll bet they get you assistance in that situation because they don't want anyone dropping dead on their shift. They may want you to come as close to death as is possible, only without actually kicking the proverbial bucket.
  7. #7
    KingSky is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny J View Post
    were you still intoxicated when you told them you were uninjured?
    Yes, I was still intoxicated. As you guys said, I did sign the paper saying I was not injured. However, I was very drunk and had hit my head. My lawyer also said that the officers report said my eyes were doing something (I don't remember the exact term) that is common with someone who has a head injury.

    Does anyone know of an online resource where these things can be looked up? Like the laws regarding inmate rights in MN, that sort of thing?

    Thanks for the answers everyone.

Similar Threads

  1. Minnesota DWI and possible bad treatment in jail ??
    By Lisa101010 in forum Drunk Driving / DUI / DWI
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 01-06-2006, 04:24 PM
  2. Refused meds in jail
    By bbarger435 in forum Medical and Health Care Malpractice
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-03-2006, 08:26 AM
  3. no paperwork at jail - refused to processs
    By sweierman in forum Sentencing / Parole / Pardons / Plea Bargains
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-13-2002, 10:14 AM
  4. Refused Medical treatment based on religious beliefs
    By BPparent in forum Family Law Archive
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-08-2000, 10:13 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© 1995-2012 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.