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From the Courts: Premature Birth; Kidney Failure Death  

Author:  Ken Kozlowski.

Source: Volume 22, Number 01, Winter 2020 , pp.9-11(3)

Correctional Health Care Report

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Our regular review of important court decisions includes two cases: one in which an inmate lost a claim over the premature birth of twins that occurred while she was in custody; and a second in which the estate of an inmate who died of untreated kidney disease survived a motion to dismiss and will be allowed to proceed to trial. Inmate Loses Claim Over Twins’ Premature Birth. Plaintiff alleged that the nurse, as a trained professional, knew that premature birth involves serious medical risks that can be significantly mitigated by timely treatment. The babies were born with cerebral palsy, renal failure, respiratory failure, and numerous other serious short-and long-term health issues. Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Navarro County, Southern Health Partners ((a private company that contracted with Navarro County to provide medical care at the Jail), Dr. Shaw, and Hullett. In her complaint she alleged claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for unlawful conditions of confinement against Navarro County and SHP and for deliberate indifference against Dr. Shaw and Hullett. Rodriguez also alleged a Texas-law claim for negligence against all defendants. Navarro County and the SHP defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim under which relief could be granted. Rodriguez opposed both motions. In Rodriguez v. Southern Health Partners, Inc., 2020 WL 292848 (N.D. Tex. June 3, 2020), the court granted the motions to dismiss Rodriguez’s claims under §1983, but declined to reach her state-law negligence claim. They also granted Rodriguez leave to re-plead. Kidney Failure Death Suit Allowed to Proceed. In Kitchen v. Clinton County, 2020 WL 3052865 (M.D.Pa. June 8, 2020), the federal district court found that Debora Kitchen had sufficiently alleged that physician Karl Pecht had violated Shawn Kitchen’s constitutional rights by continuing to treat him with pain medication—a course of action that was clearly ineffective—instead of trying to find the source of Kitchen’s pain.

Keywords: Denial and Delay of Access to Adequate Medical Care

Affiliations:  1: Ohio Supreme Court Library.

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