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Suffolk County, Massachusetts Wrongful Death?: Jail Waited Too Long to Send Immigrant Detainee to the Hospital, Says Federal Report

According to the Boston Globe, a federal immigration agency report examining the death of immigrant detainee Pedro Tavarez accuses Suffolk County Jail medical staff of waiting too long to get the 49-year-old man the proper medical help. Tavarez, who was suffering from diabetes and hypertension, was being held at the jail so he could be deported back to the Dominican Republic. He died of heart failure on October 19.
after a deadly bacterial infection ravaged his body.

The 98-page report by the ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility claims that Tavarez did not receive the proper medical care while at the jail. Prison Health Services Inc. runs the jail infirmary.

Tavarez’s medical condition grew worse and although Boston Medical Center is closer to the jail, he was taken to Shattuck Hospital where he suffered a heart attack. Unfortunately, the Jamaica Plain hospital lacks medical emergency services, so he was transported to Faulkner Hospital. Due to the unavailability of an intensive-care bed, he was sent to Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The report says language barriers, incomplete medical records, and staff that failed to check his vitals and get him to the right hospital immediately contributed to Tavarez not getting the proper medical care that he needed. He was initially treated for a cold but after his condition deteriorated he was admitted to an infirmary where staff was supposed to check his vitals every four hours. The report says that this did not always happen. Also, the Bureau of Prisons doctor has said that Tavarez should have been transported to a hospital sooner. Instead, he stayed at the jail infirmary for another day.

Prisons and jails owe prisoners, detainees, and suspects a duty of care to protect them from Boston police brutality and crimes committed by other inmates. The law enforcement officers must also must provide them with the proper emergency and medical care when warranted and make sure that they are fed and given enough to drink. Unfortunately, there are people who end up hurt or dead while in police custody because other parties were negligent or reckless. Injured suspects and prisoners have been known to file Boston injury lawsuits seeking compensation for the harm that they suffered.

Suffolk jail is faulted in death of detainee, Boston, July 30, 2010
Report faults care in death of Boston detainee, Boston Herald, July 30, 2010
Read the Government’s Federal Report (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility

Suffolk County Jail

To determine whether you have grounds for a Boston wrongful death claim or an injury case contact our Suffolk County personal injury lawyers today.