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:
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.
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.