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$700,000 Settlement in BOP Prisoner’s Delayed Treatment Claim

The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) agreed to a $700,000 settlement in a lawsuit alleging prison doctors failed to properly treat a prisoner who suffered a head injury form an assault.

Prisoner Nathaniel Askew was incarcerated at FCI-Safford in Arizona on October 30, 1997, when “he was attacked and beaten with a hard object believed to be pool balls concealed in a sock.”  Askew fell and hit his head, rendering him unconscious.

Askew sustained “a large contusion and hematoma behind his right ear, with an abrasion over the hematoma.  His right ear drum was perforated.  He had a round contusion with a small laceration over his left anterior forehead.”  A skull x-ray was taken.

Physician assistant G.W. Graham read the x-rays and concluded they were negative for fractures.  Askew, due to his combativeness, was restrained while his laceration was sutured and he was placed in a holding cell.

The next day, he was found in a “worsened condition, unresponsive, confused and combative” by guards.  Dr. Eduardo M. Ferriol reviewed the x-rays and found a questionable fracture” above Askew’s right ear.  He was taken to a hospital and found “to have a right epidural hematoma with skull fracture, with underlying intraparenchymal hematoma, and about 1 cm midline shift.”

Askew underwent emergency surgery and underwent speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy” until return to prison on November 13, 1997.  He continued such treatment afterwards and continued to suffer cognitive and physical impairments.

His lawsuit alleged “the failure to a timely, and properly evaluate, diagnose, and refer to a medical specialist, treat , and observe” Askew caused “severe aggravation of his head injury.”  He was represented by attorney James Geagan. 

BOP settled the matter for $700,000 on June 3, 2002.  See: Askew v. Ferriol, USDC, D. Arizona, Case No CV-99-53S.

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Related legal case

Askew v. Ferriol