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$11,000 Settlement For Failure To Treat Federal Prisoner's Hepatitis "C" Virus

Illinois federal prisoner Louis Sheptin brought a combined federal tort and Bivens action
against the United States in 2000 for the failure to treat and disclose to him that he was infected with Hepatitis "C." The $10 million suit settled for $11,000 in 2002.

Sheptin, housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, discovered in 1998 that his medical records revealed an infection of "Chronic Active Hepatitis." He alleged that a neurologist notified FCI Bastrop officials of this fact when he was housed there. However, Bureau of Prisons (BOP) medical doctors allegedly purged the test results from Sheptin’s file, deterred outside doctors’ attempts to intervene, and ignored follow up orders for various tests. A 1998 habeas action resulted in a judicial order for treatment, which was also ignored. Sheptin alleged exposure to liver deteriorating drugs prescribed for other ailments such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, and that medical orders for a cardiac diet were refused by Dr. Cruz who said "You think you're at the Hilton?"

After several emergency admissions to the hospital and a hunger strike, medical staff finally began to address Sheptin’s condition. Sheptin brought the suit and claimed that his administrative remedies were exhausted because of a previously denied administrative tort filing. He alleged failure to disclose and treat his medical condition, as well as negligence resulting in the reduction of life expectancy. He further alleged that the BOP was negligent in twice releasing him to his family without informing him that they could contract the disease from him.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved the settle agreement in 2002. See: Sheptin v. United States, USDC, N.D. Ill., Case No. 99 cv 8459 (Sept. 11, 2002).

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Related legal case

Sheptin v. United States

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