A 27-year-old inmate in Hutchinson Correctional Facility, Kansas, died of a fungal infection months after he began complaining about the pain to the prison officials. Unfortunately, no one took him seriously and his condition remained undiagnosed.
Last year, Marques Davis told infirmary personnel he was experiencing numbness and weakness in his leg. Slowly, he began to worsen as his vision turned blurry while his speech became slurred and thick.
“It feels like something is eating my brain,” he told a health official in the prison, according to the Kansas City Star.
Over the next few months, Davis became so disoriented, he even drank his own urine.
Davis died of a heart attack in custody on April 12, 2017.
A CT scan revealed “dramatic swelling of the brain sufficient to force the upper part of the brain down into the lower part of the brain.” The autopsy revealed he had advanced granulomatous meningoencephalitis, which is a form of meningitis caused by the candida albicans fungus, according to the newspaper.
Such an infection is treatable, and Davis would still be alive if he was diagnosed and treated, according to a lawsuit his family has filed against Corizon Health Inc., the private company that provides health care to inmates in Hutchinson.
The grievance, filed by the deceased inmate’s mother and daughter, claimed Davis had been complaining about his illness — which started with a limp — for a long time.
He regularly updated his mother about his worsening health, informing her how the Corizon workers would only take his blood samples and send him back to the cell with some ibuprofen.
“This was an everyday thing for me, calling over there telling [prison officials] about things he’s complaining to me about but also the things I’m seeing,” Davis’ mother, Shermaine Walker, revealed. “He’s losing weight tremendously, he’s sweating, his skin color is changing.”
She said everyone ignored him when he complained about “having something wrong in his head.” The lawsuit also accuses 14 Corizon workers of denying the victim “meaningful medical treatment” for eight months.
“No amount of money in the world could ever replace my child, but somebody needs to be held accountable and this need not to happen to anybody else,” Walker said. “It doesn’t matter why he ended up there. He was a human being.”
Corizon, apparently, has a habit of making business through sick inmates.
“Corizon has been sued 660 times for malpractice over the last half-decade,” the ACLU stated on its website. “As long as Corizon is motivated by its bottom line, there will always be a perverse incentive not to provide treatment. And Corizon is doing very well. The company makes $1.4 billion a year off sick prisoners.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center is also suing the state of Alabama over Corizon’s practices there.
Meanwhile, the firm has released a statement:
“We expect any legal proceedings to reveal Mr. Davis’ care was appropriate.”
As Davis’ mother put it, no amount of money can bring back her son. Hopefully, no one else would have to suffer the same fate this inmate did.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Michelle Shephard/ Pool