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PrimeCare, Berks County Prisoner Who Loses Leg Agree to $850,000 Settlement

PrimeCare Medical agreed to an $850,000 settlement in a civil rights action alleging it failed to provide care for a prisoner at Pennsylvania’s Berks County Prison (BCP). The prisoner suffered amputation of her left leg below the knee.

Alice J. Neuen was sentenced on April 18, 2008, from 364 days to 23 months in BCP. Neuen advised PrimeCare employees upon booking that she was under the care of a surgeon and that she was an insulin-dependent diabetic who also suffered hypertension.

On April 1, 2008, she underwent a right femoral to popliteal artery bypass graft. The surgeon determined similar surgery was needed on the left leg, and that was scheduled for April 21.

Despite being informed of those circumstances and that Neuen’s left leg was cold to the touch, turning colors and no pulse could be detected in it, PrimeCare nurses failed to consult with the treating surgeon, a PrimeCare doctor, or otherwise seek care for her. Neuen complained to the nurses daily, but they still did not refer her to the doctor, who came to BCP twice before finally seeing Neuen on April 30.

Once the doctor did examine Neuen, she sent her to a hospital for emergency care. By then it was too late, and Neuen’s left leg was amputated below the knee. Back at BCP, Neuen was placed in a cell that did not accommodate her disability, causing her to fall on the amputated stump several times. Eventually, the wound became infected, and the surgeon had Neuen admitted to the hospital to ensure she received proper care. She was released by BCP on October 18, 2008.

Represented by attorney Peter M. Newman, Neuen sued BCP and PrimeCare on November 5, 2009. The matter proceeded to trial, and on the fourth day after Neuen’s experts testified, the court urged the parties to consider a settlement. An $850,000 settlement was reached, which was four times what PrimeCare offered prior to trial.

While that should have ended the matter, after the jury was dismissed, PrimeCare demanded a confidentiality clause as part of the settlement. Neuen objected, and the court on June 23, 2011, ordered PrimeCare to pay the settlement without such a clause. See: Neuen v. PrimeCare Medical, et al. USDC, E.D. Pennsylvania, Case No. 5:09-cv-05090

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Related legal case

Neuen v. PrimeCare Medical, et al. USDC, E.D. Pennsylvania