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Patient says correctional facility doctors acted with negligence

Receiving timely and sufficient medical care is often necessary for preventing a minor illness or injury from progressing into something far more serious. An inmate in an out-of-state prison contends that she did not receive such treatment and that the negligence exercised by medical professionals led to a devastating outcome. Regardless of a person's position in life, each and every individual in New Jersey should be able to expect proper medical treatment that is aligned with the accepted standards of care.

The 62-year-old woman arrived at the correctional facility in December 2013, at which time she was already experiencing some troubling symptoms. Suffering from intense physical pain in her abdominal area, the county jail from which she had been transferred had already performed an X-ray and determined she had developed at least one kidney stone that was fairly large. Despite this diagnosis, she claims that staff at the new correctional facility did little more than administer pain medication, despite worsening pain, fevers and the presence of blood when she used the restroom.

Almost a year passed, and, by October 2014, the woman could hardly walk because of the immense amount of pain she was experiencing. Still, it took the insistence of an attending correctional officer before facility nurses agreed to examine her. The following month, an X-ray revealed that the kidney stone was still lodged inside of her and that she had developed a severe kidney infection. Follow-up care at an area hospital resulted in the removal of her left kidney, as the stone that had been left untreated had impeded and then completely blocked all of its function, leading to an abscess.

She has since filed a medical malpractice suit alleging negligence on behalf of the correctional facility's doctors, specifically pointing out that it took an attending officer's insistence before staff even re-evaluated her. Successfully navigating the suit to completion can not only provide just recourse for the victim but also help protect other inmates and patients from suffering similar outcomes. Not being taken seriously by medical professionals is a common fear shared by many patients in New Jersey, and this situation is a prime example of just how dangerous that negligence can be.

Source:, "Coffee Creek inmate who had kidney removed files medical malpractice lawsuit against state", Maxine Bernstein, April 18, 2016

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Alan D. Bell
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