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California Prisoner's Death From Untreated Tonsilitis Results In $725,000 Settlement

California Prisoner's Death From Untreated Tonsilitis Results In $725,000

On March 30, 1999, California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG) and two
doctors agreed to pay a total of $725,000 to settle claims against them
arising from a prisoner's death due to untreated tonsilitis. CFMG is a
private company with a $3 million contract to provide medical services to
prisoners at the Ventura County (California) Jail.

While imprisoned in the Ventura County Jail, Raul Madera, 21, made
repeated verbal and written requests for treatment of a tooth and throat
infection. No medical care was provided, and the infection slowly
worsened. After becoming seriously ill, Madera was sent to the Ventura
County Medical Center where be was examined by doctors Gasior and Peters,
who determined that Madera's condition was life-threatening. However,
after several phone calls from CFMG's site manager, Valery Toney, the
doctors allowed Madera to be returned to the jail. Madera was seen by CFMG
doctor Sean Aldridge the following day and returned to the hospital.
Madera died the next day from overwhelming sepsis due to untreated

Plaintiffs, Martina Madera and others, sued Ventura County, CFMG, Toney,
Aldridge and others alleging violation of Madera's civil rights, failure
to train and supervise, and medical negligence. As to nurse Toney,
plaintiffs claimed that she had Madera returned to the jail in order to
save money; she acted as a physician in making medical orders; she failed
to supervise, train and discipline wrongful conduct; and she was
deliberately indifferent to Madera's serious medical needs. Plaintiff's
further claimed that Dr. Aldridge failed to see Madera or follow up on him
and did not train and supervise his physician's assistant; that CFMG
attempted to boost profits by denying medical care to prisoners; and that
the Ventura County Sheriff's Department failed to properly supervise CFMG.
Defendants contended that they acted within the standard of care in
treating Madera.

Plaintiffs eventually settled their claims for $725,000 ($625,000 from
CFMG, Dr. Aldridge and nurse Toney, and $100,000 from Drs. Gasior and
Peters). As part of the settlement, CFMG agreed to hold the Sheriff's
Department and the County free and harmless.

Plaintiffs were represented by R. Samuel Paz of the Law Offices of
F. Samuel Paz in Los Angeles, Soria Mercado of Soria Mercado Associates
also ire Los Angeles, and Mark Flores of Feredia Associates in Oxnard,
California. See: Madera v. County of Ventura Sheriff's Department, USDC CD
CA, Case No. CV 97-1859.

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Related legal case

Madera v. County of Ventura Sheriff's Department

no case text.