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Ex-Prisoner Gets $850,000 for Broken Neck

When Steven Dodson entered a California prison in October 1996, he didn't know that his neck was broken. He only knew that his neck pain kept getting worse. He also didn't know that the next 10 months of his life would be a nightmare of what amounts to torture by medical neglect.

Dodson, 47, was serving a short sentence for drug possession. He claimed in a lawsuit filed after his release that the California Department of Corrections (CDC) refused him medical treatment --even after his pain became so great that he couldn't walk.

Dodson says he slowly deteriorated until he could no longer get out of bed and lay immobile in his own waste. An infection set in and ate away at his hip, medical records show. More than 100 pounds melted away from his 6-foot frame.

The day he was released from New Folsom State Prison in August 1997, his girlfriend drove him to a Sacramento emergency room, where doctors quickly determined that he had a broken neck.

The state admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $850,000 to settle with Dodson, who remains partially paralyzed. Corrections Department director Cal Terhune confirmed the April, 1999, settlement without comment.

Associated Press

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