New Evidence Supports Claim Against Multnomah County

Blast Zone No. 3396 - 1 Comment
Set Up On:
Category: Corrections - Jail Staff
Old Jail Location:
1120 SW Third Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97204
OHSU Medical Records:
OHSU Medical Records
OHSU Medical Records

New evidence in the CopBlaster.com lawsuit against Multnomah County appears to support claims of deliberate medical indifference. Those claims being; First, that a county policy that prioritizes taking inmates to court over outside medical appointments without promptly rescheduling them for a reasonable date, is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of inmates; Second, that delegating treatment authority to corrections deputies is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of inmates. As a result of these policies, I suffered permanent injury in the form of an angled left humerus (larges bone in the upper arm). Records produced by Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) show that by the time I was taken back to OHSU for my one week follow-up nearly six weeks later it may have been too late for them to do anything for me.

In the screenshot and .pdf that I am uploading with this article, P.A. Amy Sothern stated the following:

"On physical exam patient is overweight male in no acute distress, alert and oriented to person and place. He has motion intact with wrist extension and finger extension. He has skin intact at left upper arm and no obvious swelling. There is some bony thickening/prominence along left upper arm but not tenting or tight areas. No ecchymosis and patient has intact flexion and extension of the elbow active and passive but not full. He is very stiff at his shoulder with passive motion and was hesitant to move the shoulder. Films taken and reviewed with dr. orfaly Impression: left distal humerus fracture, angled, sub acute with early signs of healing Plan: at six weeks out recommended continued non op treatment. Attempted to use sarmeinto but it was not approved from the law enforcement officers with him today so used a sling. He was encouraged in gentle motion of both elbow and shoulder with limited weight bearing and follow up in four weeks with repeat left humerus films. He will continue get and wean from pain meds via the facility he is currently incarcerated in and may use over the counters as able to within that facility to help with weaning from narcotics. Risks and benefits provided including permanent restriction in motion at elbow or shoulder, non union or delayed Union, on Going pain or need for future surgery. Written paperwork was provided to guards regarding plan. Questions answered to patient satisfaction." - Amy Sothern

Sothern described my future risks as "Risks and benefits provided including permanent restriction in motion at elbow or shoulder, non union or delayed Union, on Going pain or need for future surgery." That statement establishes that despite it having been nearly six weeks since Deputy Timothy Barker had intentionally broken my arm, that the bone was still in a non-union state. A bone is non-union when it has been broken into two pieces and the pieces have yet to heal back together. At that point, my risks and benefits clearly did not include the possibility of a timely union. In the end, I suffered a delayed angled union with a slight motion restriction. Sothern's statement appears to indicate that had this visit taken place one week after the incident instead of nearly six weeks later, that a timely union would have been on my list of possible benefits. Multnomah County tries to justify the five week delay by pointing to two prior appointments that they cancelled citing conflicts with the court docket. The problem with this defense is that it is an admission by the county to being deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of inmates that have conflicts between the court schedule and outside medical appointments. Had the policy not been indifferent they would have taken me to OHSU and told the court to reschedule. Not only did Multnomah County not take me to OHSU when they should have, but they rescheduled me for appointments over a week later and failed to check the court docket for any hearings that conflicted with those appointments. They should have a policy of trying to get inmates new appointments the next day, certainly the same week, and they should train their staff to check the court's schedule when making outside medical appointments, if they are going to prioritize sending the inmate to court over sending them to the doctor at all.

The other possible explanation for my angled arm is that the county is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of inmates by allowing corrections officers to overrule doctors on issues regarding medical treatment. As Sothern said "Attempted to use sarmeinto but it was not approved from the law enforcement officers with him today so used a sling." That decision effectively eliminated any chance my arm may have had for a full recovery. I say "may have had" because as Sothern said "There is some bony thickening/prominence along left upper arm but not tenting or tight areas." That thickening is what held my arm together despite the bone being in a non-union state. She told me orally that my bone would be stronger than ever. The question I will be asking Sothern is whether or not that thickening bone was hard enough to rule out a non-angled outcome or if it were still possible to bend that bone back into place. A sling obviously would not have done anything to correct the angle of the bone beyond permitting gravity to assist. One would need something like a sarmeinto brace to correct the angle. Corrections deputies are not qualified to decide if a brace is needed or not. Deputies Jon Burnett and Marco Reyes simply disallowed it for having small pieces of metal. They did that even though inmates are issued medical equipment with metal parts at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) by in house medical personnel. I personally recall meeting more than one inmate that had been issued a walker with metal parts. Any policy that lets half-wit jail guards overrule decisions made by smart people that spent years in medical school is deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of inmates.

Conclusion, one way or the other I was a victim of deliberately indifferent county policies. The question for the jury will be to decide which one if not both. Multnomah County's culpability exceeds mere negligence.

2/18/2020 - One thing I do need to concede however is that Multnomah County did not err by deciding to taper off me off pain meds. I thought the P.A. ordered over the counter stuff added to the Norco I was already on, but it appears that the taper was recommended by OHSU after all. I had not way of knowing that for sure until I reviewed these records, so I will have to drop my claim of being deliberately indifferent to my pain after August 3, 2018.

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