California Grandfather with Dementia Dies After Being Jailed for Suspected Intoxication That Was Really Diabetic Shock
by Jo Ellen Nott
On February 11, 2022, after police spotted Gilbert Gil, 67, driving erratically in Escondido, California, his daughter rushed to the scene to explain her dad had early onset dementia and diabetes. He didn’t drink or do drugs, Jennifer Schmidt added; he’d never even had a traffic ticket. Police arrested Gill anyway on a charge of driving under the influence of an illicit substance.
The day after he was booked into San Diego County’s Vista Detention Facility (VDF), when Schmidt returned to pick him up after his release, the kindly grandfather was having difficulty walking and speaking. He was also parched—a symptom of diabetes—but could not remember how to use a cup. Schmidt eventually returned him to the apartment he shared with his brother.
When Gil later began showing signs of dementia, his nephew called paramedics for help But in a tragic turn of events, Escondido police officers showed up. They arrested Gill again for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
On the way to jail, they stopped to have Gil checked at Palomar Hospital. He was then released to the jail with a doctor’s note asking police to return him to the hospital if he continued to experience chest pain or heart palpitations.
During the booking process at VDF, Gil said was unable to sign paperwork. His blood sugar level was checked and clocked at 253, more than double the normal level. Jail staff gave him five units of insulin and left him alone in a holding cell. There he was found dead 15 hours later, naked from the waist down with feces on his feet.
Records showed he had been left unattended the entire time.
A County autopsy report is pending. Meanwhile, another has been ordered by Gill’s family, thanks to the Autopsy Initiative, a program started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to cover the costs of a second autopsy. The program helps families of those who died in custody or at the hands of police officers.
Gil was one of at least six San Diego County jail detainees to die since the beginning of 2022 and one of more than 200 deaths since 2006. [See: PLN, Apr. 2022, p.4.] A report early in the year by the state auditor singled out the Sheriff’s Department for having the highest mortality rate among large California jail systems.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
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