ATLANTA (AP) — The family of an 18-year-old who died in a Georgia jail said in a lawsuit that his death was the result of medical neglect by health care workers at the facility.
WXIA-TV reports that Tyrique Tookes died after about six weeks in the Fulton County Jail. He “began to complain of chest tightness with constant intense aching pain rated 10/10 on pain scale and aggravated by laying down, palpating chest and worse after eating” in late April 2019, the lawsuit says.
A physician’s assistant at the facility, who was employed by the private correctional healthcare company NaphCare, said Tookes could be experiencing “possible heart burn.”
According to the suit, the physician’s assistant recommended Ibuprofen, Tums, ice packs and fluids – and to follow up if symptoms worsened. It says no medical doctor or other supervisor signed off on the assessment.
Jail records showed that Tookes was given antacids and compresses over the next four days. A scheduled follow-up appointment was “canceled on release,” the lawsuit says, even though he wasn’t released.
Tookes wasn’t evaluated by any healthcare worker the next two days and was found unresponsive on May 4, 2019, according to the suit. “It was noted that his pupils were fixed, no pulse, muscle stiffed and non-moveable and his skin was cold to touch.”
An autopsy said there wasn’t evidence of injuries and that toxicology came back negative, the lawsuit says. Tookes’ cause of death was ruled “Cardiac Tamponade due to ruptured ascending aorta.” According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, cardiac tamponade results from blood or fluid building up and putting pressure on the heart.
WXIA reports that more than a dozen defendants are named in the lawsuit, many of which are NaphCare workers employed at the jail. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office isn’t listed. It said in a statement that the office doesn’t comment on pending cases, according to the station.