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South Carolina Prisoner Awarded $825,000 for Untreated Infection

On January 10, 2006, a South Carolina jury awarded $825,000 to a state prisoner who received inadequate medical treatment for a life threatening infection.

State prisoner Jason Bynum was diagnosed with a serious mouth infection on January 9, 2002, while imprisoned at the Turbeville Correctional Facility. The untreated infection began as an abscessed tooth but quickly progressed to Ludwigs Angina, which can lead to a potentially fatal swelling of the throat. Edward Bell, Bynums attorney with the Bell Legal Group, said his clients painful and serious condition was noted by nurses but ignored by doctors and prison management.

Bynum was admitted to the hospital on January 23--two weeks later--after complaining of breathing problems. By then the raging infection had left his lungs 90% full of pus. Hospital doctors were appalled at the inhumane treatment Bynum received, said Carter Elliot, head of the Bell Legal Groups Police and Jail Misconduct Division. Elliot went on to say that one expert witness, a professor at a Maryland Medial School, said Bynums case was the worst example of medical neglect he had ever seen.
Bynum underwent multiple surgeries and spent several weeks on a ventilator. He suffers from residual nerve damage, impaired speech, and difficulty swallowing.

Bynum sued alleging the South Carolina Department of Corrections was medically negligent in his treatment. The jury agreed and awarded him $825,000 in actual damages. A separate settlement was reached with a private oral surgeon, Dr. Robert Blease, in the amount of $50,000.

Attorney Edward Bell was assisted by C. Carter Elliot, Jr. and Vanessa A. Richardson of the Bell Legal Group in Georgetown, South Carolina, and Sam Floyd and Ashley Boyd of the Kingstree, South Carolina, firm Jarrett & Kellahan. See: Bynum v. South Carolina Dept. of Correction, Court of Common Pleas, Clarendon Co., Case No. 03-CP-14-482.

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Related legal case

Bynum v. South Carolina Dept. of Correction