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Prisoner Education Guide

Idaho Prisoner Swallows Razor Blade to Force Corizon to Provide Medical Care

by Monte McCoin

Jason Monteleone, with the Boise law firm of Johnson and Monteleone, called the medical neglect that his client, Gary L. Merchant, 65, received from Idaho’s prison medical care provider, Corizon Health, “egregious” in a federal lawsuit filed on December 26, 2017.

“The initial medical opinion that’s been obtained demonstrates not just reckless behavior but deliberate indifference,” Monteleone said. “I do a lot of correctional medical cases, and I’ve not seen one this bad.”

Merchant, who had made “at least five written requests and, in total, over a dozen requests” to get medical attention for a worsening infection in his left leg, resorted to desperate measures to force Corizon officials to transport him to a hospital for treatment. He swallowed a small pencil-sharpener razor blade.

Merchant was finally sent to St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with “severe sepsis and septic shock.” Doctors immediately attempted surgical intervention but were unable to save the leg and had to amputate it above the knee. Turning their attention to the swallowed razor blade, medical staff performed a colostomy to remove the blade and a damaged section of Merchant’s intestines.

The lawsuit demands a jury trial on claims that Corizon, Idaho prison officials and others associated with Merchant’s health care violated his civil rights, engaged in medical negligence and/or malpractice, and failed to hire, train and supervise qualified medical staff. See: Merchant v. Corizon, LLC, U.S.D.C. (D. Idaho), Case No. 1:17-cv-00524-BLW. 



Related legal case

Merchant v. Corizon, LLC


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