Wednesday, April 16, 2008

King County Lets Low-Risk Prisoner Die in Agony

Were this a deviation from the norm at King County's Jail it might merit some explanatory commentary. Unfortunately, the agonizing and painful death of this young man (who did not commit a serious crime) is completely in keeping with the abominable conditions at the King County so-called correctional facilities. Herewith is the matter as reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Investigation finds caregivers ignored symptoms before King County Jail inmate's death

Seattle Times staff reporter

An investigation into the medical care provided to inmate Lynn Dale Iszley has found that his death from a perforated ulcer in the King County Jail on July 19 was as unnecessary as it was grisly, according to a report issued this morning by the King County ombudsman.

Two medical experts who reviewed Iszley's Jail Health Services file say caregivers overlooked or ignored symptoms that the 48-year-old inmate was in serious medical trouble the day before he died, including signs of acute dehydration and pain so severe that it left him sweating and writhing on his cell floor.

In a letter to the ombudsman, officials with Public Health — Seattle & King County said they are addressing many of the issues raised by Iszley's death.

Iszley's death was also addressed in a sharply critical report issued in November by the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, which found that inmates at the jail in downtown Seattle suffered violence and sexual harassment at the hands of guards and "life-threatening" deficiencies in some inmate health care.

In the ombudsman's report, the experts found that the jail's medical staff failed to act on Iszley's escalating symptoms after he was booked into jail on July 16 for a minor drug-possession charge. He was treated with Motrin — a drug one of the experts said was inappropriate in a case of severe abdominal pain — and given oral fluids that he could not hold down as his heart rate soared above 130 beats per minute and his blood pressure dropped.

Moreover, one of the experts who reviewed the files said other drugs administered to treat Iszley's nausea "may have exacerbated his condition" given the undetected rupture in his stomach.

An autopsy found nearly two-thirds of a gallon of fecal matter had leaked into his abdomen through the ulcer, causing an infection that killed him.

"From an outside observer perspective is [sic] appears to me that they let this man suffer and did nothing," wrote Dr. Lori Kohler, the director of the Correctional Medicine Consultation Network and a professor of clinical family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

"It is unlikely that they would tolerate this kind of agony in a friend or family member," Kohler wrote of Iszley's three days of documented suffering in the jail. "His misery is quite obvious."

Iszley's mother, Lois Clayton of Seattle, called the ombudsman's findings shocking. She said she didn't realize how long her son had been denied treatment.

"I think it shows they just didn't pay any attention to him," she said this morning. "They just let him suffer."

Dr. Dean Dellinger, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, said that Iszley's history of alcohol and drug abuse may have complicated the diagnosis and lessened his chances of survival. Still, he told the ombudsman, jail health officials should have recognized that his symptoms were not typical of an addict in withdrawal.


"Mr. Iszley's chance of survival would have been significantly improved if he had been diagnosed ... within 12-24 hours" of when his ulcer ruptured, Dellinger wrote.

Both doctors say that likely occurred about 4:40 a.m. July 18 when Iszley called for a guard and reported terrible pain: One jail guard wrote in the case log, "I asked him what was happening and his [sic] said it 'felt like his liver exploded.' "

After he was found on the floor of his cell, shaky, covered in sweat and unable to sit up without help, Iszley was examined by a nurse and left on the cell block, where he remained until nearly 10 a.m. the next day. He complained that he could not eat, was vomiting and nauseous, and had not urinated in three days — a symptom of severe dehydration.

He was awake throughout the night and made small talk with the guard. Around 6 a.m. on July 19, Iszley tried to retrieve his medications, but "stumbled and was helped back to his bunk" by other inmates, wrote one guard. A nurse checked on him, but he was left in the cell.

An hour later, he was found unconscious. He was pronounced dead at 7:46 a.m.

"Based on his symptoms, [Jail Health Services] providers should have, but failed to, recognize that Mr. Iszley was suffering from an acute illness other than withdrawal," wrote Senior Deputy Ombudsman Jon Stier, who led the investigation at the behest of Iszley's family.

Had Iszley received intravenous fluids and been taken to the hospital when his symptoms worsened on the 18th, Stier wrote, he "might have survived. ... "

In December 2006, the ombudsman detailed jail health problems in a report to the Metropolitan King County Council. In March 2007, a Seattle Times report revealed turmoil in the jail health-care system that has led to deaths and inadequate treatment.

A poor m*th*r-f*cker picked up simply for having the wrong kinds of drugs on him -- those self-prescribed versus those which are state approved. This was a very ugly and painful death. NOBODY deserves this kind of treatment. In the farthest corner of Somalia, an ugly prison outpost would try hard to top this horror story.


Packratt said...

This was a horribly sad and painful story to read. Thank you so much for speaking out about this travesty of "justice".

It is truly appreciated to hear a voice speak out against horrors such as this.

Thank you!

Koko said...

Everyone especially the medical staff at the King County jail house should be held accountable. The medical staff and correction officers treated him as if he was a parasite, only going through withdraws. If he was withdrawing then they should provide him with some form of help for the detox as well. Jail should not be for people with drug additions. Drug facilities should be open and available for drug addicts. Jail is for the criminals who are a threat to law abiding citizens and or their possessions. If the drug addict is a thief or immoral then for certain lock them in jail too, but Lynn was certainly not a thief or a criminal. He was an addict.

Lynn was a polite descent human being; who was brought up correctly. He loved his family and all Gods creatures. He even said thank you to the officer for food he would not be able to eat that is the type of person Lynn was- kind and polite. He was not a threat to anyone but himself. Lynn was not a criminal, or a menace to society he simply had a drug problem. He did not steal to support his habit; Lynn received monthly checks from his fathers’ estate. Lynn being an addict would know if he was having withdraws. He knows first hand what they feel like, its not that he never tried quitting his vise or disease before. I helped him once go through his withdraws, and if he said to me “my liver feels like it exploded”, I would get him to the hospital as quickly as I could. He was clean and sober for a month at my house in Portland, but he needed more help then I could provide him. Lynn didn’t want to be a drug addict he just was-he said there was something deep down inside him that was lonely and sad. The pain that only the drugs would numb... Pain that could have been his sisters’ murder or his dads unexpected passing, I don’t know and now we will never know.

Everyone at that jail that had contact with Lynn should be ashamed of your selves. You are all truly evil. You have no clue on how to treat people, Lynn was not a demanding person all that time he was in tremendous pain and you people thought he was faking and every one of you people could have cared less, what if it was you or our loved ones You wouldn’t of been half as composed and as brave as Lenny had to be.

Lynn was 47years old. My Aunt now has lost two of her three children. Both were murdered as far as I’m concerned. The State of Washington and a Jealous Psychopath, and the State of Washington only locked up the jealous psychopath murderer for 4 maybe 5yrs. I just can’t believe that, no justice for my Aunt what so ever... The State of Washington is negligent twice in my book, and my cousins are no longer with her or us and that is just a crying shame.

Your sadness, loneliness and pain are now gone, and ours now begins, I miss you Lenny…I hope your Mom gets the justice she deserves…I will try and be there for her when the court case begins…..your loving cousin Koko.

TruthBeTold said...

• Personal Defense
• It is above question that each individual holds the unalienable right to completely own and manage his or her body. No one is more qualified than you to manage your body responsibly and with dignity. The silly assumption that government personnel, who make as many mistakes as everyone else, can successfully manage their bodies AND yours shows the unmatched ignorance of government officials, especially judges and prosecutors.
• Constitutional Defense
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• Jury Defense
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• Defending Body Ownership Creates an Alliance of Traditional Opponents
• Many favorite rights of conservatives, and other favorite rights of liberals, have been reduced to privileges, granted or denied at whim of government officers, by the same flawed process. That process assumes government ownership of individual bodies, and implies the willful surrender of that right by the individual.
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• Juror nullification occurs when a juror refuses to convict a person because of bad or misapplied law. Many bad laws are based on government’s falsely-assumed ownership of your body. Refusing to enforce bad laws by nullifying them is the highest duty of a juror. Jurors can defend your ownership and management of your body, and thus all of your other rights. Jurors have the authority to judge the law and its application, and to veto bad laws by “not guilty” verdicts. Jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.
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• When called for jury duty and questioned about your understanding of the law or issues, consider stating that you do not keep track of political issues, and that you can apply the law as instructed by the court. If asked, suggest that you do not remember if you belong to any particular organizations because you get too many junk mail organizational solicitations. Imply an impartial attitude.
• You may be the only informed person on the jury. The judge’s instructions and oaths to the jurors are designed to fool jurors and protect the raw power of judges. Despite their official-sounding nature, these instructions to jurors cannot be legally binding, or there would be no need for the authority of independently-thinking jurors.
• You hold the absolute right to vote your conscience. If the accused did not identifiably damage an actual person, you can find him or her not guilty. Regardless of other jurors, you cannot be forced to change your verdict. You can state that the government prosecutor did not prove the government case. Or you can state no reason for your verdict, as is your right.
• Your body and minds right of: expressions thoughts possessions medicines recreation and work
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• “The right of the people to be secure in their persons ... against unreasonable searches and
seizures shall not be violated ...”
• The human right that controls all other rights is the absolute ownership and management of one’s own body. Without complete ownership of your body, you cannot hold rights.
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• The Jury is your defense.