NaphCare, a healthcare provider that operates in jails and prisons in 27 states, has a long history of controversy and alleged involvement in inmate deaths. Yet another lawsuit has been filed against the company. This time, it’s for the death of Sasha Garvin, a 27-year-old Dayton, OH woman who suffered a fatal bowel obstruction in the Montgomery County Jail.
According to her mother, Anne Johnson, Sasha had just completed rehab and gotten sober after struggling with a drug addiction. She was turning over a new leaf, and the last obstacle she had to overcome was a 30-day jail sentence for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket.
Anne visited Sasha in jail just a few days before her death, and she was optimistic about starting her life over once her sentence was complete.
However, Sasha only served 11 days at the jail. Less than two weeks after being imprisoned, she was found dead in her cell, curled up on the floor next to the toilet.
Initially, Montgomery County jail personnel made the assumption and told Sasha’s family that she had overdosed, but a toxicology report showed no illegal drugs in her system. Instead, the coroner found that she died of an acute small bowel obstruction—a medical issue that can be fatal when not treated promptly.
And clearly, in Sasha’s case, jail medical staff did not perform the necessary treatment in time.
Sasha had a history of inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease, which can increase the risk of bowel obstructions. According to the lawsuit filed by Sasha’s family, she alerted medical staff that she had severe abdominal pain and needed to go to the hospital, perhaps knowing that she was having complications from Crohn’s.
Sasha was cold and clammy, her vital signs were abnormal, and she told the staff multiple times that her pain was at a level 10, yet NaphCare allegedly did virtually nothing to help her.
Sasha was never taken to the hospital or even seen in person by the jail doctor, Dr. Brenda Ellis. The lawsuit asserts that the nurses blew Sasha off repeatedly, passing her off during shift changes and giving her two paltry bags of ice for the pain.
Two days after her initial complaints, Sasha was found dead on the floor of her cell. According to the jail report, when jail employees found her, another inmate in the cell yelled, “She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s been dead for a while.”
Sasha was the second person to die at Montgomery County Jail in May 2017 alone. The first was Stephen J. Roudebush, a 31-year-old Kettering man who jail officials claim hanged himself in his cell while his cellmate was at dinner.
Sasha’s family has filed a medical negligence and wrongful death suit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, naming NaphCare, Dr. Brenda Ellis, and nurses April Merkt, Greg Mills, Pamela Mitchell, and Darrell Rader as defendants.
They have not yet made a claim against the jail or any of its employees. However, there is a two-year statute of limitation for a federal civil rights claim, and there is a possibility the case will proceed in federal court at a later date.
If that happens, Sasha’s case would be the eleventh lawsuit against the Dayton-based jail in recent history.
Five of the 10 lawsuits against the jail are currently pending. One went to trial and was successfully defended in U.S. District Court. The remaining four were settled for a total of $888,000 plus legal fees. Like Sasha’s family, the other victims who filed lawsuits claim that they faced abuse and neglect while they were in custody.
Amber Swink’s case made national headlines when a video of her being sprayed in the face with an entire can of pepper spray at point-blank range was released to the public. The video shows her being restrained in a chair and ostensibly being tortured and laughed at by deputies.
Swink reached a $375,000 settlement with the jail in August 2017.
Darryl Wallace allegedly suffered similar treatment at the Ohio jail. Darryl alleged that correctional officer Jerrid Campbell “viciously beat” him, which was captured on surveillance video.
Although prosecutors declined to pursue a felony charge against the officer, Darryl was offered $58,000 to settle his civil rights and excessive force lawsuit.
Emily Evans and Marsha Pate-Strickland both filed lawsuits for being pushed to the ground by officers while they were in custody at the jail. Emily alleged that she was “body slammed” onto a cement floor when she was taken into custody for a suspected DUI.
Marsha Pate-Strickland, a 60-year-old woman, said she was “violently swung” to the ground by correctional officer David Stemp when she asked for milk instead of juice at meal time. The women received $75,000 and $380,000 settlements, respectively.
This is the sad reality at jails throughout the U.S.: correctional officers don’t always treat inmates with the respect and care they deserve. Amber, Darryl, Emily, and Marsha were lucky to get out of the Montgomery County Jail alive. Sasha, unfortunately, lost her life needlessly.
If you or a loved one have suffered similar mistreatment in jail or prison, our attorneys may be able to help. Contact us today for more information on how you may be entitled to compensation. If we take on your case, there is no fee unless we win. 866.836.4684 OR CONNECT ONLINE