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Suit Claims VA Man Died After Poor Medical at Virginia Beach Jail

The Norfolk, Virginia (VA) sister of a man who died at the Virginia Beach jail as filed a $5 million wrongful death suit in federal court, alleging "deliberate indifference", against the sheriff and the jail medical staff, including the sheriff and Conmed Healthcare Management, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

Similar to claims made by the family of another man who died at the jail in 2001, the current lawsuit alleges poor medical care in violation of the 8th Amendment and 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution similar to those raised by the family of another jail inmate who died in 2001. 

Per the most-recent lawsuit, jail medical staff provided treatment for the man's diabetes but not his hypertension. After the inmate began complaining about severe eye pain, dizziness and sweating, he collapsed and hit his head on a table. Jail infirmary medical staff implied "he was malingering" and, according to the lawsuit, a deputy, doctor and nurses told other inmates the man was "faking blindness".

He was later transferred to Virginia Beach General Hospital after another attack, where he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. He was pronounced brain dead on November 4, 2010, and died on November 7, 2010.

Allegedly the Virginia Beach jail has a history of providing poor medical care, and one doctor named in the lawsuit was the same doctor who treated the inmate who died in 2001 from liver failure. The family of a Yorktown woman who died at the jail after choking on a wrist band, also raised questions about the quality of medical care, complaining the staff should have called an ambulance when the woman became erratic in her cell.

Medical malpractice is professional negligence by a health care provider who deviates from the reasonable standard of care in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient. A plaintiff must establish four elements of negligence with the help of a Virginia personal injury attorney, for a successful medical malpractice claim: 

  • Defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff
  • Defendant breached the duty
  • Breach caused the plaintiff injury
  • Damages resulted from the injury

To learn more about what to you or a loved one can recover in a medical malpractice claim, check out one of our case results.


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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