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Federal Inmate's Widow Receives $750,000 Settlement for Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

by Christopher Zoukis

The widow of a man sent to federal prison for tax evasion settled a suit against the federal government for $750,000 over the wrongful death of her husband while he was incarcerated.

     Louis Thomas Faison Jr., 63, a retired high-school teacher, was sent to the federal prison in Lewisburg to serve a 15-month sentence for tax evasion on September 5, 2007. On April 1, 2008, he complained of coughing and generalized pain in a visit to the prison infirmary. There, the physician's assistant advised Faison to take some Tylenol and cough/cold medicine from the commissary, increase his fluids and rest.

     The next day, Faison's condition worsened significantly. He was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and prescribed an antibiotic. Less than two hours later, he was found unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead of organizing bronchopneumonia.

     Faison's widow, Veta B. Faison, sued the federal government for wrongful death and medical malpractice. She argued that the physician's assistant failed to order a blood test, take a flu/viral culture, or request a chest X-ray. She argued that the failure to perform a proper lung evaluation on both April 1 and April 2, 2008, led to Faison's death. The defense denied the allegation that the prison failed to meet the standard of care regarding treatment of acute respiratory infection.

     Prior to discovery, the parties agreed to a $750,000 settlement as part of the court's mandatory mediation program. Veta Faison was represented by Melissa Scartelli and Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr. of the Scranton, Pennsylvania, law firm Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.

See: Faison v. United States of America, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Williamsport Division, Case No. 4:10-cv-0263-JEJ (Sept. 13, 2011)


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Related legal case

Faison v. United States of America