Boston Wrongful Death Filed by Daughter of Immigration Detainee

A woman whose father died at the Suffolk County House of Correction is suing the jail and its infirmary for Boston wrongful death. Pedro Tavarez, a 49-year-old immigration detainee, died in October 2009. He was in custody after he was ordered deported. Other defendants of the Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit are Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, Prison Health Services (now called PHS Correctional Healthcare), jail superintendent Gerard Horgan, and jail physician Colleen Collins.

In her complaint, which was filed as a federal case, Judith Tavarez is accusing the plaintiffs of gross negligence. She says that her dad died from a heart attack that was brought about by a major sepsis infection that the “defendants failed to properly treat.” She is also claiming civil rights violations and Boston medical malpractice.

Per a federal report from last year, because Suffolk officials did not take Tavarez to the hospital sooner his infection spread. Tavarez’s Boston attorney is calling the government’s failure to provide the detainee with “decent medical care” a “moral outrage.” Also, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility reports that in the case of Tavarez, there were language barriers, incomplete medical records, and the failure to complete basic tasks, including not checking his vitals regularly. Tavarez stayed at the jail infirmary for two days before he was transported to the first of three hospitals.

Even if you or your loved one has been arrested or detained, you are still entitled to a certain level of care and treatment. If failure to provide either causes serious injuries, or death, you may be entitled to recover Boston personal injury compensation. According to, a 2009 inspector general report from the Department of Homeland Security noted that a lot of work still needs to be done to make sure that detention centers provide medial examinations. American Bar Association lawyers that interviewed detainees at Suffolk and a number of other county jails discovered that immigrants who had been detained were often forced to wait a long time to see a doctor.

Lawsuit filed in death, Boston Globe, May 16, 2011
Death of Pedro Tavarez raises questions around immigration detention reform, Restore Fairness, November 2009

Related Web Resources:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Tracking and Transfers of Detainees, US Department of Homeland Security, March 2009
Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral

PHS Correctional Healthcare

More Blog Posts:
Family to File Plymouth County Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Psychiatric Patient’s Homicide, Boston Injury Lawyer, March 11, 2010
Could Long Waits to Visit Boston Doctors Lead to Delayed Diagnosis?, Boston Injury Lawyer, May 15, 2009
Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawsuit To Be Filed By Family of Worcester Man Made to Walk Down Stairs by Paramedics, Boston Injury Lawyer, April 27, 2009
Don’t be afraid to report incidents of neglect or police brutality that occurred while you were in custody to an experienced Boston injury lawyer.

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