Lawsuit: On jailers’ watch, Mich. man imprisoned for ticket died from …

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jail death lawsuit: He was naked, hurting, no one aided.

David Stojcevski’s violent disintegration and death over the course of 16 days is horrifying enough — his hallucinations, his rapid weight loss, the way he twitched and shook from the pain of drug withdrawal. The lawsuit claims employees of the jail and contracted medical services allowed the man to suffer through prescription medication withdrawal, causing him pain, and ultimately his death David Stojcevski went to the Macomb County Jail in June 2014 to serve a 30-day sentence for failing to appear in court on a traffic ticket for careless driving.MACOMB COUNTY (CBS Detroit) He couldn’t pay the $772 fine for a careless driving ticket that had turned into an obstruction of justice charge, so he was sent to jail for 30 days. But that it happened in jail — under 24-hour video surveillance and the eyes of more than a dozen corrections officers and medical staff — “shocks the conscience,” Robert Ihrie, an attorney in the lawsuit over Stojcevski’s death, told the Detroit Free Press.

The suit claims deputies looked on via a 24-hour camera mounted in Stojcevski’s cell as he withered away for 17 days, having been denied the medications he’d been prescribed (and was taking prior to his incarceration) to manage his drug withdrawal. The 11 days of footage showed the Roseville, Michigan, man in a high-observation cell behaving erratically, exhibiting extreme weight loss — he lost 50 pounds during that stretch — and convulsing on the cement floor during his final two days of life. Then with the cameras rolling in the cell where he was allegedly on suicide watch, he died — alone, visibly breathing his last before medical personnel rushed in from outside the glass and try in vain to resuscitate him. “This is shameful, substantial and unconscionable neglect,” said Robert Ihrie, senior partner at the firm handling a lawsuit against Macomb County on behalf of David Stojcevski’s family. There, the suit says, “defendants … monitored, watched and observed David spend the final ten days of his life suffering excruciating benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.” “It’s unconscionable that they let this human being suffer like this,” addiction expert Diane Rockwell told WDIV, describing Stojcevski’s last moments, as he crawled under the cell bed and heaved his last breaths, as being “like an animal [that’s] crawling underneath something to die.” The last days of Stojcevski’s life were captured by a surveillance camera that monitored him constantly during his time in the jail’s mental health unit.

According to his family’s lawsuit, a doctor prescribed Stojcevski Methadone, Xanax and Klonopin to help him beat his addiction — but without them, his body would go into withdrawl, WDIV reported. It seeks more than $75,000 in damages. “Any case that involves death in a penal institution is hard and sad,” Ihrie said Thursday. “This case is particularly hard, particularly difficult, particularly sad. Within six days, his behavior turned erratic, and he was moved to a mental health cell, stripped of his clothes for his own protection and put under suicide watch.

Brother Vladimir Stojcevski, who filed the lawsuit, wrote this on David Stojcevski’s memorial page of the funeral home that handled his arrangements: “YOU WILL NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN. County Corporation Counsel John Schapka said that “knowing the facts and circumstances of the case, I’m confident the county will prevail.” Ronald Chapman, who is representing Correct Care Solutions, could not be reached for comment Thursday. ITS TIME SOMEONE STANDS UP AND IS THE VOICE BEHIND THIS AND YOU KNOW I WILL NOTTT STOP UNTIL WE GET TO THE F’N VERY BOTTOM OF IT, OR TO THE VERY TOP OF IT. According to the lawsuit, another defendant saw Stojcevski “twitching on the floor,” which led another defendant to take his vitals, which did not include his weight, and clear him. On June 18, a nurse supervisor did a medical assessment and learned that Stojcevski had been taking Klonopin at home for anxiety, but no new orders were received, and he remained in high observation without medication.

The lawsuit says Stojcevski was on Xanax, and other medications including a daily dose of 60 mg of methadone, which is generally used for recovering heroin addicts. The lawsuit states protocols were not recommended, medicines were not ordered and jail personnel ignored Stojcevski’s pleas for necessary medical care. Wickersham told the station he couldn’t comment because of the ongoing litigation, but WDIV said corporate counsel in Macomb County indicated that the case lacks legal merit and they expect to prevail when it goes to trial. Benzodiazepine withdrawal, according to wikipedia, is marked by “sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty with concentration, confusion and cognitive difficulty, memory problems, dry retching and nausea, weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness, a host of perceptual changes, hallucinations, seizures, psychosis and suicide.”

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