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$1.35 Million Settlement for Wrongful Death of Illinois Prisoner

On March 17, 2005, Cook County, Illinois, agreed to pay $1.35 million to the surviving son of a woman who died in a county jail after she was denied medical attention.

Marilyn Bones, 37, was arrested on August 14, 2000, and eventually taken to the Cermak Health Services facility, which is operated by the Cook County Department of Corrections. At 1 a.m. on August 16, just after she was placed in a cell, Bones began complaining of stomach pain and diarrhea. She was given Kayopectate at around 4 a.m., but her symptoms persisted.  At 7 a.m. Bones called a guard and pleaded for medical attention. The guard refused, however, because she was lying on the cell floor. The guard told her he'd summon help when she got up. Roughly two hours later Bones was still lying on the floor when a nurse checked on her. She was rushed to the jails hospital, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead on arrival.  It was later determined that Bones had suffered an ectopic pregnancy which caused a blood vessel to rupture. Approximately 1.5 liters of blood had leaked into her stomach, causing her death.

The plaintiff--guardian of Bones' 9-year-old son, Charles Reed--sued Cook County claiming it was negligent in Bones' medical treatment. The plaintiff overcame the state's Tort Immunity Act by successfully arguing the guard effectively denied Bones medical care, which constituted willful and wanton misconduct.

The County agreed to settle for $1.35 million prior to trial. The plaintiff was represented by David L. Buffen of the Chicago law firm Rittenberg & Buffen, Ltd. See: Reed v. Cook County, Cook County Circuit Court, Case No. 00-L-10733.

Source: VerdictSearch Illinois Reporter

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Related legal case

Reed v. Cook County