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Suit: Kansas City jail staff joked amid dying woman’s cries

May 14, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The children of a woman who died of a torn aorta at a jail in downtown Kansas City allege in a lawsuit that staff joked as their mother lay curled up on the floor, crying in pain.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed this month in Jackson County Circuit Court, describes ReGina Thurman’s death two years ago as “horrible and preventable,” The Kansas City Star reports.

The suit says the Jackson County Detention Center’s medical staff was dismissive when Thurman began experiencing severe chest pains in January 2017 while she was waiting to be processed on a probation violation. They gave her antacid tablets, while jailers accused her of overreacting, the suit says.

Quoting the corrections department’s own report, the lawsuit says that one corrections officer said, “The lady was suffering from jail-litus.” Fifteen minutes later, Thurman stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Jackson County spokeswoman Marshanna Hester said in an email that the county doesn’t comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

The defendants include county government and the jail’s former medical care provider, Correct Care Solutions of Nashville, Tennessee.

Another lawsuit against the contractor alleged that Richard Degraffenreid was allowed to die in the jail in 2017, rather than be taken to a hospital for treatment for a drug overdose. The county settled that lawsuit for $150,000. Correct Care Solutions agreed to an undisclosed settlement.

Correct Care Solutions terminated its contract with the county last year. It changed its name to Wellpath after a merger last year.

In an email, a company spokeswoman declined to comment on the suit’s allegations because the litigation is ongoing, but said that in general “a lawsuit is only one person’s point of view of what actually occurred at the time.”

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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