Fayette jail inmate died over the weekend; family says he needed medication

His Mother thinks he went untreated

rclemons@herald-leader.comJune 28, 2011 

A Fayette County Detention Center inmate died Saturday evening after being transported to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.

The Fayette County coroner's report said that Anthony Dwayne Davis was found unresponsive in a cell and that no foul play was suspected.

Davis, 26, of Lexington was in the jail's medical unit when an ambulance was called, according to Susan Straub, spokeswoman for the mayor's office. Straub said there is "a detailed record of frequent medical checks" on Davis "leading up to the time the ambulance was called."

Straub declined to provide any other details.

Davis' mother, Janet Davis, told the Herald-Leader her son had atrial flutter, an abnormal heart rhythm, for which it is "very important" to take medication twice a day. She said he would get a fast heart rate of 200 to 350 beats per minute, then become agitated and start sweating.

She said she doesn't think he was given his medication while at the jail.

Davis was arrested June 18 for first-degree wanton endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. He was booked in the jail June 19.

According to court documents, he brandished a firearm and pointed it at two individuals, creating "a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to both victims." He was found in possession of seven oxycodone pills, according to police reports.

Janet Davis said she called the jail "several, several" times asking for her son to get medical help. She hopes his case raises awareness about others who might be in similar situations.

"There's been so many people in jail, and they don't give them the proper treatment," she said. "We don't want it to happen to any other parents, child, husband or wife."

About 60 people gathered outside the jail Monday night for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Davis, known to many as "Chubs," and to raise awareness about inmate deaths. They carried signs with messages such as "When will the abuse/neglect stop at the jail?"

Last year, a 54-year-old Lexington man who was being held at the jail also died after being taken to the UK hospital.

Dean Ferguson was serving time after being convicted of driving under the influence. He checked into the jail at 7 p.m. July 9 and was taken to the hospital the next morning. He was pronounced dead of a pulmonary embolism at 10:13 a.m. July 10, according to a report from the Fayette County coroner.

Administrators of Ferguson's estate have sued the Urban County Government and others, contending Ferguson was a victim of "egregious and unjustifiable treatment."

Anthony Davis' family and friends want to make sure inmate deaths don't go unnoticed.

Theresa Oiler, a family friend of the Davises, said she organized the vigil because "somebody needs to know Anthony Davis' story."

"We understand that they're inmates, they've committed some kind of crime, but as a government building that is housing them, they are obligated to their medical needs and medical safety and medical care," Oiler said.

Janet Davis said that when she visited her son at the jail at 3 p.m. Saturday, he was incoherent.

She said she called the jail multiple times Saturday afternoon after visiting him and "begged" them to get him medical attention.

"Why didn't they act faster?" Oiler said. "I believe that this death could have been prevented."

Davis' friend Chris Woods said the family learned of his hospitalization when another inmate at the jail called Woods about 10 p.m. Saturday and told him Davis had been taken to the hospital.

Woods said he went to the UK hospital, where he learned Davis was dead.

"They didn't even call me and tell me they took him or nothing," Janet Davis said.

Straub had no further comment when told about the family's concerns and calls to the jail.

Oiler said Davis was a good person who made a bad choice.

"He has a smile that nobody has," said Oiler, whose brother was Davis' best friend.

"He was a big bear, we all loved him."

Arrangements are being handled by Kerr Brothers Funeral Home.

Herald-Leader staff writer Karla Ward contributed to this report.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service