The Connecticut Department of Corrections (DOC) settled a lawsuit alleging that medical workers failed to diagnose and treat a 19-year-old state prisoner who died of lupus on July 7, 2021, for $1.65 million.

The settlement ends a lawsuit brought by Karon Nealy, Jr.’s estate. Soon after his arrest in September 2014, he was transferred to the Manson Youth Institute (MYI), which houses juveniles under the age of 21 who are awaiting trial.

Medical Sick Call #1

Manson Youth Institute (Myi)
Manson Youth Institute (MYI)

Nealy made his first sick call on October 2, 2014, complaining of pain in his elbow joint. He was given ibuprofen by a nurse and returned to his cell. He returned two weeks later, complaining of a three-day sore throat, and a week later, complaining of bug bites that the nurse couldn’t see. Each time, he was given ibuprofen and taken back to his cell.

Second Medical Visit

Bad Medical Staff

He was visited by a doctor, Gerald Valletta, on December 18, 2014, after missing a sick call the previous month. Valletta ordered blood tests after Nealy complained of joint pain, which came back normal. Meanwhile, Nealy was placed in segregation after a confrontation with a guard. In January 2015, he made another sick call, complaining of pain all over and being prescribed ibuprofen.

Third Medical Visit

On February 7, 2015, another sick call for joint pain and swelling was answered with ibuprofen. When he was convicted of assault in April 2015 and sent back to MYI to finish his two-year sentence, the same thing happened several times over the winter and early spring.

Bad Medical Staff

According to a lawsuit eventually filed on his behalf, he began to turn pale and lose his hair at this time. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory illness that affects several organs and causes hair loss and impaired circulation in the extremities.

Nealy’s physical health deteriorated as the problem persisted, and he became increasingly frail. His bones began to crack, his fingernails became discolored due to poor circulation, and he became frail. Throughout it all, Nealy’s medical treatment consisted solely of ibuprofen.

The end

As his condition deteriorated, Nealy rarely got out of his bunk. Guards ignored his requests for medical help, while medical personnel proceeded to treat him with nothing more than ibuprofen. Nealy began frothing at the mouth and having seizures on June 27, 2015. He was sent to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with lupus. But it was too late for him to be saved. On July 27, 2015, Nealy’s life support was turned off.

Bad Medical Staff

Privious articles about faulty medical care by UConn Health’s Correctional Managed Health Care, for providing inadequate care to DOC inmates (CMHC) have been written. 

According to a complaint filed by Nealy’s estate in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut on July 26, 2018, the Department of Corrections was aware of CMHC’s understaffing and inadequate medical care, which threatened the health and lives of inmates, but instead of doing something about it, the Department of Corrections allegedly engaged in a cover-up.

Bad Medical Staff

On March 19, 2021, the Court refused Dr. Valletta’s petition for summary judgment. See: Staten v. Semple, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52037 (D. Conn.). On June 8, 2021, the estate’s lawyers obtained a resolution from the state General Assembly empowering them to sue the state for CMHC’s wrongdoing. See: CTHJ00211.

Following that, the parties reached an agreement on a settlement that resolves all claims related to Nealy’s death, including state claims. The state also agreed to relinquish its right to pursue $54,768 in jail expenses, $17,299.95 in medical costs, and $170,299.95 in cash aid for Nealy and his mother, Keshanna D. Staten, as part of the deal.

“Nothing’s gonna bring this kid back,” said DeVaughn Ward, one of the estate’s attorneys. “It’s certainly less than what we had it valued at, but rather it gives resolution to his mom and his seven-year-old daughter.”

Bad Medical Staff

Ward previously achieved a $1.3 million settlement for Wayne World, a state prisoner whose skin cancer was misdiagnosed and treated as psoriasis by CMHC before it metastasized and spread to his liver, with his co-consul Kenneth Krayeske. 

“A small down payment on some restorative justice for his family,” Ward said of the duo’s recent court triumph for Nealy’s estate. See: Staten v. Semple, USDC (D.Conn.), Case No. 3:18-cv-01251.

Source: CT Mirror