Jail inmate denied transfer to medical unit 19 hours before his death

19 hours passed, Jail records show

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comAugust 2, 2011 

Nineteen hours before he was found with no pulse in a cell at the Fayette County Detention Center in June, Anthony Dwayne Davis requested to go to the jail's medical unit and was denied, jail records show.

The Herald-Leader has obtained the information under the Kentucky Open Records Law as police continue to investigate Davis' death.

A nurse and a mental health specialist evaluated Davis at 1:41 a.m. June 25, and the mental health specialist told a correction's officer that Davis, 26, was probably "manipulating the system," according to the records.

Instead of being placed in the medical unit, Davis was moved from the general population to a segregated unit for refusing to follow directions.

It would be nearly 17 hours, at 6:30 p.m., before Davis was moved to the medical unit and assessed again by a nurse. Two hours after arriving at the medical unit, Davis was found without a pulse.

At that point, Davis was rushed to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the records.

Fayette County Deputy Coroner Shea Willis said Monday that she is awaiting results from autopsy reports before releasing a cause of death.

Urban County Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason said Monday that the case remains under review, but "we haven't found any fault with anybody at the jail."

"We are not anticipating any kind of reprimands or any kind of discipline. My review of it looks like the jail personnel and medical personnel did what they were supposed to do," Mason said. "This is a very complex medical situation in terms of, this guy had a very long history."

Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Gray, said Monday that a police investigation into the case is continuing and that detectives said they've found no signs of foul play.

"Police are waiting for the medical examiner's report in this investigation," Straub said.

Officials at Corizon, the company that contracts with the jail to provide medical services, did not return a phone call seeking comment on Monday.

Davis' mother, Janet Davis, could not be reached for comment Monday. But in an interview in June with the Herald-Leader, Davis said her son had atrial flutter, an abnormal heart rhythm, for which it is "very important" to take medicine twice a day. She said he would get a fast heart rate of 200 to 350 beats a minute, then become agitated and start sweating.

Janet Davis has said she doesn't think her son was given his medicine while at the jail.

Mason said Monday that Anthony Davis was given his medicine after his mother brought it to the jail, but Mason didn't know when she brought it.

Talking to himself

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

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

A June 19 incident report was written when Davis entered the jail. It noted that a nurse and a corrections officer lieutenant had been notified about something regarding Davis, but jail officials redacted several words on the report before giving it to the Herald-Leader.

Straub said medical information was redacted because of privacy requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

On June 22, Davis was placed in the medical unit for observation after he reported that his right arm was hurting above the armpit. Mason said Davis was treated for an isolated minor infection.

It's unclear when Davis was moved back to the general population but, in a report written at 1:41 a.m. June 25, a corrections officer on a general-population unit said he witnessed Davis talking to himself and making unusual comments.

Davis contacted the officer on the intercom and said, "My dog is around back, and I need to contact Animal Control," the report said.

Davis asked to be moved to the medical unit because "he didn't want to be around anybody" in a common day room where he was being housed, the report said.

The corrections officer contacted a nurse and a mental health specialist, who concluded that Davis should remain in the general population, according to the report. The mental health specialist told the corrections officer that Davis "was most likely manipulating the system to be relocated."

The corrections officer told Davis that he was going to be moved to a different day room. When he refused to go, he was given a disciplinary citation and, at 2:05 a.m., he was moved to a segregation unit, where he was allowed no recreation.

A report written at 2:30 p.m. said Davis ripped up the mattress in his cell. A corrections officer told him to gather all the pieces of his mattress and hand them to him, which Davis did "without further incident."

At 3 p.m., Davis had a visit with relatives through a visiting window, but the visit was terminated because Davis was "acting erratically," a report said.

At 3:06 p.m., a mental health specialist was contacted again to check on Davis.

At 3:45 p.m., Davis' mother called the jail "distraught over the subject's behavior" and told jail officials he was on medicine, a report said. Jail officials redacted words from the report, making it unclear what medical condition Davis' mother discussed with jail officials.

Davis stepped out of his cell at 4:18 p.m. and was placed back inside, but he was not disciplined for it, according to a report.

Mason said no corrections officer physically restrained or had an altercation with Davis, despite his refusals to obey directions.

At 5:05 p.m., a mental health specialist assessed Davis and contacted the medical staff, who decided to place him in the medical unit.

He was moved there at 6:30 p.m. and received a medical assessment at 6:43 p.m., a report said.

At 8:41 p.m., Davis was called to the nurses' station over an intercom but did not respond. That's when he was found without a pulse in his cell on the medical unit.

Another death

After Davis' death, friends and family held a vigil outside the detention center, criticizing medical care at the jail.

Last year, Dean Ferguson, 54, who was being held at the jail, also died after being taken to UK Hospital.

Ferguson was serving time after being convicted of driving under the influence. He died of a pulmonary embolism.

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

In March, the licenses of two nurses employed by Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri-based company that contracted with the Fayette County jail to provide inmate medical services, were suspended for three years by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The suspensions were stayed with the condition that the nurses receive training and supervision.

Valitás Health Services Inc., the parent company of Correctional Medical Services Inc.; and America Service Group Inc., the parent company of PHS Correctional Healthcare Inc. in Tennessee, signed an agreement and plan of merger in March that resulted in the creation of the company called Corizon, according to Corizon's Web site.

Reach Valarie Honeycutt Spears at (859) 231-3409 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3409.

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