Oklahoma County jail inmate deaths attributed to inadequate medical care, records show

An attorney says Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel and the Oklahoma County board of commissioners are responsible for failure by the county jail‘s former medical contractor to provide medications and proper staffing.

why is this such a familiar issue to all of us? Because it happens way too often. We allow this to happen….silence is NOT golden. Who would you turn to if it were your loved one? The facility will not help you…what would you do?

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In the days leading up to his death, Charles Holdstock and other inmates in need of medical attention often languished on the 13th floor of the Oklahoma County jail, waiting for assistance, court documents indicate.

Many sat handcuffed to a bar for hours, only to be returned to their cells without seeing a nurse or doctor, according to documents filed in connection with Holdstock’s May 15, 2009, death.

“I hear they got charged $15 to be taken up and seen by medical staff,” a physician assistant for the jail’s former medical provider testified in a sworn deposition. “We would never see them. They’d be sent back down, and they got charged.”

Oklahoma Health Department investigators found another seven men died while in jail custody during a year-and-a-half period before Holdstock’s death because they did not receive proper medical treatment.

Holdstock, 63, was in poor health and needed to get his pacemaker checked when he was brought to the jail’s medical floor in March 2009.

The physician assistant tried scheduling an appointment with an off-site cardiologist but the request was never carried out.

“I know that he was not seen because this man kept coming back, you know, kept putting in sick calls, which he paid for, to come back and see me just to ask to have his pacemaker checked,” said the assistant, who requested anonymity.

Less than two months later, Holdstock was dead.

Family files lawsuit

His three daughters sued Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, county commissioners and the jail’s former medical provider, claiming their father was denied his constitutional right to adequate medical care while in custody.

Whetsel declined to comment on the Holdstock case, which is pending.

A judge blocked a trial, ruling the claims against Whetsel and the county lacked merit. The family settled out of court with the medical provider, Correctional Healthcare Management of Oklahoma.

An appeals court reinstated the case, citing years of warnings about serious jail deficiencies as their basis for reopening it.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded earlier this month that “a reasonable jury could find that Sheriff Whetsel and the County acted with deliberate indifference” to substandard jail conditions that may have caused Holdstock’s death.

Continue Reading @ NewsOk (page 2)



2 thoughts on “Oklahoma County jail inmate deaths attributed to inadequate medical care, records show

  1. Not only Is inadequate medical care, in Oklahoma County jail. Take a look at California Medical Faciltiy in Vacaville, CA. It is supposed to be the Corrections Medical Center, but it lacks not only compassion, but Medical care. It is impossible to talk to anyone in Charge. My son has been there for 6 months, and was transferred to the Med Center, because he is a Stage 3 Colon Cancer patient. He is 60 years old,( and yes he should know better than to be in that situation) however he is, and he surely should get medical attention, as that is what he is there for, being an inmate. The staff doesn’t want to bother with him, so he just suffers. It’s just a warehouse for older ill inmates to just fade away. They are dying every day there. He told me last night via PHONE that it is like he is in isolation, he can’t get to a doctor unless they make an appointment for him, and they don’t do that. He is just locked in his cell, until they decide to let him out. He is using a walking devise now, he is just wasting away. Where does all the money that is told is going there, going? I realize these inmate are valued less than animals, but they all are someones loved ones. I love my son, and Not a minute of the day goes by that I don’t have him on my mind, and please don’t say it was his families fault that he is there, it was his fault by getting addicted to drugs, and never receiveing the help that he needed. But I truly don’t believe that it is his fault that he has cancer, and it is not self healing, it needs medical help to achieve this, if anything will. My heart is breaking, and I’m totally helpless to do anything to help him. I have written to the Federal Overseer, but I feel that is just a waste of time, as Nothing ever changes in the prison system. I still have HOPE,hopefully this will be read, and put a light on the CMF in California.


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