Inmate died of leukemia after pleading for help, federal lawsuit claims
A 20-year-old in a St. Louis County prison died of survivable leukemia last year after seeking help from staff who failed to take him to the doctor.
The civil rights suit against the county and several prison workers was brought by the Tashonda Troop, mother of the late Lamar Catchings.
St. Louis County attorneys did not respond to a request for their response on Saturday.
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The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court's Eastern District of Missouri, says his health deteriorated after catchings were detained on April 17, 2018, and he died on February 28, 2019. The file did not state what was alleged to be catchings.
An autopsy found that he died of leukemia with a survival rate of about 90 percent.
In the file, Yale University oncologist Steven Gore is quoted on the mortality rate from acute promyelocyte leukemia, which is believed to have killed Catchings.
Catchings's death came after two more high-profile deaths in 2019 at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in St. Louis County. There were two more before the year was out, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges that the district's health system is in disarray and without adequate medical supervision by nurses and doctors.
"The Defendant St. Louis County was aware of the grave and apparent shortcomings in its prison policies and the training of prison staff, including policies and training on the provision of health and medical care to its detainees," he said.
Lamar catchings. (Courtesy of the Tashonda Troupe)
At a vigil in August 2019 for those who died at the facility, Troupe said, "They all had treatable diseases. All they had to do was get the medical care they asked for and they would attend today be their families. "
In February 2019, Catchings was seen three times by nurses for several minutes after asking for help, vomiting, and losing the ability to walk. The lawsuit alleged that two days before his death a nurse said, "There is nothing wrong with him." He's an [expletive] forger. "
Another prison worker reportedly told Catchings that when his health deteriorated to "grow up".
The lawsuit alleges that staff at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center acknowledged that he was sick because they gave him Tylenol, brought him food, and carried him, or rolled him around in a wheelchair.
His body with developing rigormortis was discovered the day after his death, the lawsuit said.
"Mr. Catchings ultimately died alone in his cell and from a condition that the St. Louis County Medical Examiner later reported was fully diagnosable by a routine prison blood test," it said.
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