Family of Diabetic Inmate Who Died at Dawson State Jail Sues Private Prison Operator

PamelaWeatherby.jpg
Pamela Weatherby, who died last July
Pamela Weatherby, a 45-year-old Big Spring woman -- and, according to a federal suit filed Monday in Dallas, an "unstable insulin dependent diabetic" -- was serving a one-year sentence for drug possession at Dawson State Jail when she died last July.

Now her parents and two sons say Weatherby would still be alive if not for the treatment she received from guards and medical staff at Dawson, which is on the Trinity River on W. Commerce Street. They're suing Corrections Corporation of America, the state jail's operator and the country's largest private prison outfit, over her death.

Says the suit, which follows after the jump, Weatherby wasn't given off the regular insulin shots she needed -- she got oral diabetes treatment instead -- nor was she fed the special low-starch diet Texas requires for diabetic inmates. The suit recounts Weatherby's two months of diabetic comas after she was taken off insulin shots, blaming them on "CCA's deliberate indifference to her serious medical needs."

CCA spokesman Mike Machak tells Unfair Park they hadn't been served yet and only just got a look at the suit. "However, at this point, it is important to understand that we take the health of every inmate in our care very seriously," he says.

Lawyers for Weatherby's family didn't respond to messages, but Elisabeth Holland, a local nurse practitioner who runs Project Matthew, a faith-based medical program for incarcerated women, says she isn't surprised. "My opinion is that the health care in Dawson is worse than in a developing country," she says. "Any of those diseases -- HIV would be another one -- that require regular medication with regular screening gets lost."

CCA is the only defendant named in the suit. But it also mentions one Quindlynn Gray, who, the suit alleges, signed off on Weatherby's health care at Dawson; Gray is listed as an employee of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, which provides health care for Texas's corrections system. (That may not be the case very much longer, especially if private health care providers convince lawmakers to open the market.)

The suit against CCA offers a blow-by-blow account of Weatherby's diabetic incidents at Dawson, where, the family alleges, her treatment didn't follow the course prescribed by the diagnostic intake facility Weatherby came through first.

Within days of her arrival at Dawson, the suit says, Weatherby was taken off her scheduled insulin shots and given oral Glyburide instead -- ushering in "three consecutive days of diabetic comas," the suit says.

Mistaking the comas for a suicide attempt, the suit says, jail officials had her transferred to a mental health unit in Gatesville, where she was put back on insulin shots and stabilized -- only to return to Dawson after a few days, where she was taken back off insulin and her comas started up again.

At 1 a.m. on June 22, the suit says, guards found Weatherby unresponsive in her cell again; she was transferred to Parkland, stabilized, and returned to Dawson the next morning.

Weatherby died July 14 after "yet another diabetic crisis", the suit says; an autopsy blamed effects from her diabetes.

"CCA refused to treat Weatherby, ignored her complaints, and intentionally treated her incorrectly with wonton disregard for any serious medical needs," Weatherby's family claims, blaming the company for "a pattern and practice of failing to implement processes and procedures" the state requires.

Weatherby v. Corrections Corporation of America
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26 comments
T1DMom
T1DMom

My heart goes out to Ms Weatherby's family.   Insulin Dependent Diabetes is a horrible disease.    This disease can not be managed by any oral medication.   It can only bemanaged by insulin injections.  It must be managed on schedule as well.   The jailerintentionally with held the life sustaining medication as well as with held the othermedication, Glucagon, that should have been available.   Hopefully the family's attorney's are properly trained in Diabetic Care.   As who ever assigned to "oral"medication intended to harm.      God Bless Ms Weatherby's family as manywill be watching the results in order to keep other Insulin Dependent Diabetics saferegardless of jail.   

Billbonk74
Billbonk74

march 16th 2012, my exwife was serving a 7 month term, done her time and was to be released. family was waiting outside to receive her scheduled release at 10am and 12pm. she never came out. when i inquired through a guard, who repeatedly tried making me leave their 4 parking spots in front of their front door , he found her on his list, and said she's not on this unit. i knew she was, i got letters from her the whole time she was there, where the f is she. he said "i don't know, it shows not at this facility". go drive around, and i'll find out. next morning i get a call from her from texas state hospital, a mental ward, in wichita falls tx. she said the third shift guard took her out of her cell, took her to another floor, and beat her next to dead. the guards beat her up so bad, that the nurse at the hospital agreed it was pure brutality. complete boot print bruises from head to toe (not from kicks, from stomps)they stomped her into the ground, fist marks, lacerations, head trauma, and split the bridge of her nose.she said when she came out of it she was naked and laid out on the floor. come to find out they beat her so bad, they were afraid to release her the next day, so dawson went and got an emergency court order from a judge, and had her committed to the state hospital to hide what their guards did to her. ive got in touch with the hospital, and because it was a weekend noone with any say is available til monday. how conveinient, no wardens, no doctors, they brutalized a woman the night before her release, and obtained a bogus judges order to have her committed, to hide her within the state's agencies, from her family. dawson state jail guards did this,dallas tx..........what i need and want is the name, number, and contact info of the lawyer handling this families case, ....cause i got some work for you......same crooked people at "corrections corporation of america. contact me at billbonk74@yahoo.com

Kilfee Andrei
Kilfee Andrei

That's a sad news D:

Someone might still survive a diabetic if only they we're given a proper medication D:

She looks so young to die D:

Kilfee Andrei
Kilfee Andrei

That's a sad news D:Someone might still survive a diabetic if only they we're given a proper medication D: She looks so young to die D:

Kilfee Andrei
Kilfee Andrei

That's a sad news D:Someone might still survive a diabetic if only they we're given a proper medication D: She looks so young to die D:

Lilly Avila
Lilly Avila

OMG!!!!i was there last year and that place is a fucking joke someone said the a/c is out again shit when i was there last year it was out for like 3weeks i would throw my matt on the floor and sleep on my metal bunk or throw powder on the ceament floor and lay on there tryin to cool down.another thing was after 3weeks passed with it being like that they finally gave us cold water in a little as cooler that only 10women out of 54 got sum in our dorm another thing  some of them bitchass female guards would have there daily power trip and wouldnt give us the water till it was already hot.you someone with real power should go in there and see the real truth but until then its still going to be the same

Deprang
Deprang

Hi,

As I mentioned in comments above, I'm researching conditions at Dawson State Jail. If you would like to share your experiences there, especially with the guards, please contact me at deprang @ texas observer . org     Thank you!

Mark Mach
Mark Mach

I hope the family prevails. The state thinks people can just be locked up and thrown away.

Yumnahqueen
Yumnahqueen

Why is the A/C out again and the walls sweat and the floors drenched with water due to the A/C outage? This problem happens every year and for months at a time that might be the reason inmates and staff get sick there. This is a company that hide there problems and cover up there actions. You need someone like Becky Oliver to investigate this and get to the bottom of the crap that go on within that facility. Folks on the outside don't have a clue as to what's going on unless you get someone in undercover to see and hear.

Deprang
Deprang

Hi,

As I mentioned above, I'm researching a story about Dawson State Jail. If you'd like to share what you know about it, please contact me at deprang @ texas observer . org   Thank you!

Jake_V
Jake_V

sue the fuck out of the profit driven cheap assholes who let people die in prison.

Getting in trouble should be a attempt to fix behavior not profit off of someones habit or negative decisions in life.

CCA is a fucking joke.  Period.

Exitwound
Exitwound

See, drugs kill!! Just say no and stay out of jail.. Duh.  Winning...not 

ClemRubbernutz
ClemRubbernutz

The amount of stupidity on the internet is mind boggling. 

DeathBreath
DeathBreath

I have intimate knowledge of the type of medical indifference that is involved in state jails and prisons, particularly those operated for profit.  I worked in the system for over twenty-two years.  In retrospect, I don't know how I survived it. 

Despite the glitzy, high-verbal, & confident prevarication of UTMB, the bottom line is medical care is very poor.  Yes, there are competent clinicians and medical personnel, but they end up getting crushed by the "machine."  

Deprang
Deprang

Hi, Death Breath. If you have any experience with Dawson State Jail, or just want to share what you know about prison conditions, please contact me. deprang @ texas observer . org  Thank you very much.

Heather_crites2000
Heather_crites2000

Omg its abour time someone learns wnats going on in there I was there 4 years ago and if it wasnt for my dad bitching the warden out I too woudnt be here today im so sorry for ur loss bring that shit hole down

SdmW
SdmW

I was there when she passed.  It was a big deal that the guards tried to hide.  Not too long before she passed another inmate died from lack of care.  One of the guards had to fight to get her medical care

Deprang
Deprang

SdmW - I'm researching a story about Dawson State Jail. Can you tell me about conditions there, and your experience? I'm aware of other allegations of abuse. Please contact me at deprang @ texas observer . org

Info
Info

SdmW - I represent Ms. Weatherby's family in their case against CCA.  I am interested in hearing more about the other inmate that died from lack of care.   Is there a way I can contact you?

tatoodlove_22
tatoodlove_22

@Info please contact me I wax in dorms with both Ellen mentioned above in their final days. I can possibly find others aglow witness this as well. Rachele22marie@gmail.com Thank you so much.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Why were you there? 

cp
cp

Why do you care? Do you think it's okay to kill prisoners by withholding legitimate medications? 

Bob
Bob

yes 

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