Skip navigation

$3 Million Settlement Where Prison Doctor Failed to Treat Disabled Illinois Prisoner

by Scott Grammer

Mario Ramirez is disabled, more so now than when he was incarcerated at the Graham Correctional Center in Illinois. The facility contracted with Wexford Health Sources, owned by The Bantry Group Corp., to provide medical care to prisoners, and Wexford employed Dr. Francis Kayira. 

A lawsuit filed in 2017 alleged that Ramirez “was experiencing symptoms and/or signs of hypovolemia, including but not limited to: dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, hyponatremia and tachycardia, during his incarceration at Graham Correctional Center.” Hypovolemia is “a state of decreased blood volume; more specifically, decrease in volume of blood plasma.” In other words, Ramirez was losing blood.

The complaint claimed that the defendants, including Dr. Kayira, were aware of Ramirez’s condition and symptoms, and that he had not been seen by a physician for over a week, “even though Defendants knew the disabled Plaintiff was experiencing continued symptoms and/or signs of hypovolemia.” Due to the defendants’ inaction and the discontinuation of what little care Ramirez received, the suit alleged that he “was thereby injured, including but not limited to: sepsis and necrosis leading to anoxic brain injury,” which left him in a “persistent vegetative state.”

The lawsuit described the contracts between the Illinois DOC and the other defendants, specifically bonuses paid to Wexford. “If the number of monthly prisoners receiving treatment by Defendants ... at Graham Correctional Center exceeds the base rate ... Defendants ... are compensated an additional $0.01 per offender per month.” However, Wexford did “not receive additional compensation for prisoners requiring additional or multiple visits.”

Further, in 2015 a court-appointed panel of experts had released a report finding the “state of medical care in Illinois Department of Corrections’ prisons and correctional facilities was so poor that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment.”

Ramirez’s suit resulted in a $3 million payment to his guardian in September 2018. In addition, Frank Lamas, Chief of Medical Prosecutions at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, filed a complaint against Dr. Kayira seeking to have his medical license “suspended, revoked, or otherwise disciplined.” See: Murillo v. Wexford Health Sources, U.S.D.C. (C.D. Ill.), Case No. 3:17-cv-03181-MMM-JEH. 

---

Additional source: Department of Financial and Professional Regulation v. Kayira, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Case No. 2018-09021

Related legal case

Murillo v. Wexford Health Sources