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Man sues county over treatment while in jail

A man who claims he was denied appropriate medical care while being housed in the Lawrence County Jail is suing the county and those who he says caused him severe pain and suffering.

The lawsuit comes about a year and a half after Curtis McLeod was incarcerated in the county jail on a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

According to the complaint, filed Jan. 7 in the United States District Court by Cincinnati-based attorney Jennifer Branch, McLeod had struggled with alcohol addiction and neurapraxia, a nerve condition in which he feels little to no sensation below his knees.

On the day McLeod began his 13-day sentence on July 11, 2011, the complaint said he had also consumed alcohol and the jail staff knew the man was at risk of alcohol withdrawal.

During booking, the complaint alleged that McLeod told an officer that because of his neurapraxia, he needed to wear shoes rather than the standard issue flip-flop sandals because of the risk of injuring his feet.

After two days in the jail, the complaint stated McLeod had been placed in the “tank” for observation. He also began to experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including hallucinations and erratic behavior and began to beat on the door of the tank.

The complaint also alleged that McLeod was not given emergency medical services and instead placed in a restraint chair for more than 10 hours, which caused his feet to swell.

After being released from the chair, the man allegedly began kicking the door of the tank so much that his big toe bled and he was put back in the restraint chair for another eight hours.

The complaint alleged McLeod didn’t receive medical treatment until July 15. According to the complaint, “EMS records report that Mr. McLeod had ‘been having (hallucinations) of doing construction work. Climbing ladders, pulling chipped paint off the walls,’ and he was shaking uncontrollably.”

McLeod was transported to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, Ky., and admitted to the intensive care unit and treated for eight days. The complaint said, “Medical records indicate that McLeod had possibly suffered an alcohol withdrawal seizure with fecal and urinary incontinence while in his cell at Lawrence County Jail and that he was suffering from acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome. He also had an infected ulcer on his right foot.”

The lawsuit names defendants as Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless, Dr. Rodolpho Canos Jr., jail physician, the Lawrence County Commissioners, and five other jail employees.

As a direct result of the defendants indifference to McLeod’s condition, the compliant alleges, the man experienced “an extended period of restraint in a restraint chair, an extended period of delirium, and severe physical pain and suffering, including in his feet, urinary and fecal incontinence, emotional distress, humiliation, and embarrassment.

“He has also endured multiple medical procedures after his incarceration, including an ongoing and difficult attempt to address the ulcerous sore and infection on his right foot.”

According to the lawsuit, McLeod is asking for compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at a trial.

Branch, McLeod’s attorney, as well as Randy Lambert, attorney representing the defendants, did not return calls as of press time. Lawless declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.