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County, Contractor Settle Diabetic New Jersey Prisoner’s Death for $700,000

County, Contractor Settle Diabetic New Jersey Prisoner's Death for $700,000

On April 3, 2007, Essex County, New Jersey, and Correctional Health Services (CHS) paid $700,000 to settle with the family of a man who died from insulin deficiency after being misdiagnosed at a county jail.

Henry Sipp was arrested on August 25, 2003, for an assault warrant and imprisoned in a county facility. Sipp told the prison doctor, Syed Rizvi, a CHS employee, that he was diabetic and needed insulin. Rizvi, instead, sent Sipp to the infirmary to be treated for opiate withdrawal.
Sipp went into a diabetic coma several hours later and died on August 27, 2003. Sipp had traces of morphine in his blood, but his death was attributed to diabetic ketoacidosis, more commonly known as insulin deficiency.

On August 12, 2004, Sipp's family sued the County and various county officials as well as CHS and three of its employees: Registered Nurses France D. Tucker and Lisa Smith and Licensed Practical Nurse Pamela Anderson. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleged wrongful death, deprivation of Sipp's civil rights, and negligence. The family also alleged that the defendants conspired to fraudulently hide the cause of death.

Five days into trial the defendants agreed to settle for a total of $700,000. Correctional Health Services paid $550,000, and the County paid $150,000.

The family was represented by attorney Thomas Smith Howard of the Hackensack, New Jersey, firm of Kirsch, Gartenberg & Howard. Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni presided. See: Luckey v. County of Essex, USDC D NJ, Case No. 04-03847.

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Related legal case

Luckey v. County of Essex