by Derek Gilna
The family of Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) prisoner Marques Davis filed suit in federal district court in October 2017, alleging that officials at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility and the prison’s for-profit medical care provider, Corizon Health, failed to treat his fatal brain infection.
Davis died on April 13, 2017 when, after months of unsuccessfully seeking treatment from Corizon employees, he began to exhibit bizarre behavior. Earlier he had told the prison’s medical staff, “It feels like something is eating my brain.”
According to the Denver Post, shortly before Davis’ death, “An MRI done at the facility showed widespread fungal infection throughout his brain. A CT scan conducted later at a hospital revealed it was so swollen that the upper part of Davis’s brain was forced down to the lower part.”
The lawsuit claims that Corizon’s inattention to Davis’ symptoms caused his “staggeringly slow, physically and mentally excruciating death.” It accuses prison officials, Corizon, and three doctors and 11 nurses of negligence and federal civil rights violations.
Prison Legal News has reported dozens of lawsuits and millions of dollars in damages paid by Corizon Health in cases across the country, mostly related to failure to properly diagnose and provide adequate medical care to prisoners. [See, e.g., PLN, Sept. 2017, p.32; March 2014, p.1].
In Davis’ case, his health visibly deteriorated over an eight-month period and he complained to prison medical staff of pain in his head and back and problems with his right leg, resulting in severe weight loss and inability to walk. Toward the end of his life he was unable to speak, had blurred vision and became so mentally confused that he was drinking his own urine.
“Every week that I went to visit, it was one thing after another. They would tell me they looked at him and nothing was wrong with him,” said Shermaine Walker, Davis’ mother. “No amount of money in the world could ever replace my child, but somebody needs to be held accountable and this need not to happen to anybody else,” she added.
Although many months passed while Davis’ health deteriorated, the brain MRI showing a widespread fungal infection was not conducted until shortly before his death – too late for treatment, according to family attorney Leland Dempsey. Davis was hospitalized only after he suffered a cardiac arrest. The lawsuit remains pending. See: Walker v. Corizon Health, U.S.D.C. (D. Kan.), Case No. 2:17-cv-02601-DDC-KGG.
Corizon became the KDOC’s medical care provider in 2013 under a contract with the state that pays the company $70 million annually. Corizon provides medical services to prisoners in over 500 correctional facilities in at least 27 states.
Sources: www.denverpost.com, www.kansascity.com
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Related legal case
Walker v. Corizon Health
|Cite||U.S.D.C. (D. Kan.), Case No. 2:17-cv-02601-DDC-KGG|