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$200,000 Failure-To-Medicate Award Granted to California

Jail Detainee Who Lost Testicle

by John E. Dannenberg

On July 18, 2005, a Solano County, California jail pre-trial detainee, whose infected testicle was not promptly treated, won a $200,000 damage award in Solano County Superior Court after suffering necrosis and subsequent amputation of the testicle.

Wayne Crowder, 46, had been under the care of Kaiser Hospital for an infected testicle, for which he had been given Cipro antibiotic. He was scheduled ten days later, on May 27, 2003, for a follow-up with a urologist, an appointment he never made because he was arrested on May 26 on drug charges and jailed in the Fairfield, California jail.

There, although he told the intake screening nurse of his condition, the prescription for Cipro was not filled for nine days. Another week later, he was seen by a urologist, who him sent immediately to the outside hospital where the testicle was amputated that day.

Crowder sued the County in state court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Crowder argued that under the more relaxed Fourteenth Amendment standard accorded a pre-trial detainee, he was entitled to community-standard medical care, but the level he received even failed the tougher Eighth Amendment standard of deliberate indifference that attaches to convicted prisoners.

Crowder claimed that because he had lost his other testicle years before, he would now need lifelong hormone replacement therapy, which could cause prostate cancer later on. A lack of hormone replacement would cause weight gain, breat enlargement, impotence and lethargy. His lifetime medication and urological monitoring was projected to cost $78,732; a prosthesis would add $6,000 and he claimed economic damages of $115,394. With claims for future pain and suffering, the jury awarded a total of $200,000. Crowder was represented by San Francisco attorney Thomas Paoli. See: Crowder v. Solano County, Solano Superior Court No. FCS 023764. His claims against assorted medical contractors hired by the jail were dismissed, the only claims heard by the jury were against Solano County.

Source: VerdictSearch California Reporter.

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Related legal case

Crowder v. Solano County