JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A man who suffered a stroke while behind bars in Jefferson County won an $11 million verdict against a company that provides medical treatment to inmates.
A federal jury on Monday awarded Kenneth McGill the money because his pleas for help were ignored while he had the stroke. He was jailed on a misdemeanor charge.
“I thought I was going to die,” McGill, 46, said. “I don’t know really how else to put it: I was scared for my life.”
He said he didn’t receive proper medical attention for more than 16 hours despite telling the staff at the Jefferson County Detention Center that he believed he was having a stroke. The incident occurred in September 2012.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through, begging for your life, to two people that wear uniforms of help and safety and not being able to get the help that you need and eventually being abandoned later that night,” he said.
His wife, Jennifer, received a phone call from Ken while he was in jail.
“Why haven’t they taken you to the hospital?” she can be heard asking during the call.
“I need you to help me,” he replied. “I can’t feel my whole right side of my body now, and I can’t even talk. I’m scared to death.”
The staff refused to help him, he said, despite his obvious condition.
“My face was drooping. I had slurred speech. I had right-sided weakness,” McGill, who’s undergone, more than two years of rehabilitation, said.
Correctional Healthcare Companies is contracted by the county to provide medical care to inmates. The contractor has faced similar lawsuits before. McGill said he hopes it’s a wake-up call for the company.
“This wasn’t so much a medical case as it was my civil rights were violated,” he said. “I had the right for this not to happen.”
CHC’s attorney said he and his CHC were surprised by the verdict.