Mother of Big Sandy inmate who died says she got inadequate care

PAINTSVILLE — The mother of a woman who died a week ago after becoming ill at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center says her daughter died because she didn't get adequate medical care.

On Thursday, Kentucky State Police, the state Department of Corrections, and the state Department of Probation and Parole served a grand jury subpoena for records at the jail.

Shirley Dorton of Paintsville said her daughter, Sherry McFaddin, was fine on March 22, when she visited her in jail. McFaddin, 43, was three weeks into a 90-day sentence because she stole a Staffordsville woman's purse in November and wrote more than $1,500 worth of checks to Wal-Mart, Kmart and Food City.

Two days after her visit, Dorton said, jail officials told her that her daughter was ill and had been moved from her cell so other inmates wouldn't get sick. McFaddin had pneumonia or "some sort of flu," Dorton said she was told.

Dorton said she asked jail officials to send her daughter to a doctor or hospital, but that didn't happen until three days later. McFaddin died March 27 at Paul B. Hall Medical Center in Paintsville.

Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby said he was told McFaddin "aspirated and collapsed" at the jail. He said an official cause of death would be determined by the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort.

"It just tore me all to pieces," said Dorton, who works in the kitchen at the hospital where her daughter died. She said she wanted to make sure nothing like this happens to another inmate.

"No matter what they do, they're human beings just like anyone else," she said.

McFaddin had four children and three grandchildren, Dorton said, and was a good person, despite her crimes. McFaddin attended but didn't graduate from Johnson Central High School, her mother said. She had been in jail before, and her previous record included driving under the influence, drug possession, public intoxication and theft.

She and her boyfriend were having a hard time financially, McFaddin said in court records, and that's why she stole the checkbook. She said she was sorry and never wanted to hurt anyone. Her purchases over several weeks in November included household goods, such as placemats, Tylenol and children's socks.

State police said they were investigating multiple complaints about the jail, including but not limited to McFaddin's death.

Jail officials, who turned over all jail records, including inmate information and financial records, said Thursday that they didn't know the scope of the investigation but that McFaddin died at the hospital, not the jail. No one from the jail would comment on Friday.