Lexington government settles lawsuit related to death at jail

jhewlett@herald-leader.comMay 2, 2012 

Dean Ferguson, an inmate at the Fayette County Detention Center, died of a pulmonary embolism after complaining of leg pain and shortness of breath.

A lawsuit involving the medical care of a man who collapsed in the Fayette County Detention Center and later died has been settled out of court, according to an attorney representing the administrators of his estate.

Dean Ferguson, 54, of Lexington was serving time at the jail on weekends after being convicted of drunken driving. He collapsed at the jail in July 2010 and was pronounced dead of a pulmonary embolism at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital the next morning.

Douglas Ferguson and Lisa Ferguson Day, siblings of Dean Ferguson and co-administrators of his estate, sued the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and others in June, saying Dean Ferguson was the victim of "egregious and unjustifiable treatment" at the jail. The lawsuit sought compensatory and punitive damages.

Lexington attorney Fred Peters said that the suit was resolved through mediation within the past several weeks and that he was not allowed to discuss settlement amounts.

"We successfully mediated it, and everybody was glad we were able to resolve it at mediation," Peters said Wednesday. "Everybody is glad to put it behind them."

Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, said the local government had no comment on the matter.

In March 2011, the licenses of two nurses employed by Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri-based company that contracted with the jail to provide medical care for prisoners, were suspended for three years by the state board of nursing. The suspensions were stayed under the condition that the nurses, Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis, receive training and supervision. Hodge and Travis were in charge of tending to Dean Ferguson's medical needs when he was at the jail.

Jennifer Hewlett: (859) 231-3308.

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