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$100,000 Settlement in Federal Prisoner’s Death

A $100,000 settlement was reached in a lawsuit concerning the death of a federal prisoner.  The complaint alleged negligence and wrongful death.

Prisoner Robert Bassil had a long history of serious heart disease upon reception at FCI Manchester in Kentucky.  That history showed a 70% occlusion of the right coronary artery.

Five months after his April 23, 2001, transfer to the prison, Bassil was evaluated for chest pain at a hospital.  Two weeks later on September 22, 2001, he further complained again of chest pain.  On October 20 he had further chest pain and underwent a cardia catheterization on October 29.

He was evaluated for chest pain at a hospital on January 20, 2002, and had a stent placed in his right coronary artery, returning to the prison on January 25.  Chest pain on January 31 resulted in an E.K.G., which showed significant change from January 20.

Another E.K.G. was taken 15 minutes later, revealing sinus dysrhythmia consistent with myocardial damage.  A physician’s assistant, however, wrote in the record that Bassil did not appear ill and sent him back to his unit.

Bassil continued to complain of chest pain, but a guard threatened to place Bassil in confinement when he requested to return to medical because it felt like he was having a heart attack.  Bassil complied with the order to return to his cell and lie down.

Less than an hour later, Bassil was found died in his cell.  He died from a heart attack.  The suit was brought by his mother and surviving six-year-old daughter.   The parties reached the $100,000 settlement on June 7, 2004.  See: Bassil v. United States, USDC, D. Columbia, Case No 03-CV-01011.

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Related legal case

Bassil v. United States