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Corizon Faces Suit for Failing to Administer Tube Feedings to Pennsylvania Prisoner

Christopher Wallace, 30, was arrested on February 12, 2015 on charges of robbing two banks. According to his attorney, Wallace committed the crimes in a desperate attempt to secure funds to pay for feeding tubes he required because his esophagus had been severed from his stomach in a shooting incident three years earlier. Hospital records indicated that Wallace, who is 6’4”, weighed only 77 pounds at the time of his arrest.

A lawsuit filed in federal court on October 13, 2016 alleges a hospital released Wallace to the Allegheny County Jail with instructions for medical staff to administer five tube feedings each day. The complaint contends that Corizon Health and its employee, Dr. Abimbola Talabi, failed to feed Wallace properly, providing him with less than half of the required feedings and, on some days, not feeding him at all. The lawsuit further claims that the “deliberate indifference” of medical and jail staff resulted in Wallace suffering malnourishment and related health problems, including a heart attack.

A 2014 audit of the Allegheny County Jail following the deaths of seven prisoners found that Corizon had failed to maintain mandatory staffing levels, did not maintain accurate medical records and failed to provide appropriate care to prisoners. [See: PLN, March 2015, p.30]. In addition to Corizon, Wallace’s complaint names as defendants Warden Orlando Harper and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who allegedly knew about the potential danger of inadequate healthcare at the jail.

Wallace is represented in his lawsuit by the Abolitionist Law Center. See: Wallace v. Fitzgerald, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Penn.), Case No. 2:16-cv-01565-LPL.


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Related legal case

Wallace v. Fitzgerald