Man Experiences Major Medical Issue While In Police Custody; Now Major Concerns Are Being Raised
Corpus Christi--A man experienced a major medical issue while in custody of Corpus Christi police late last week. The man, who is obviously morbidly obese and in bad health as it is suffers from a wide array of medical issues as it is and was told during processing to only provide the detention officers the basics of his medical conditions. And while he claims he did attempt to mention that he was not feeling well, detention officers at the Corpus Christi City Jail ignored his requests for medical assistance which may have now resulted in even more medical issues for the man.
It all started around 7:45 a.m. this past Friday when the man was taken into custody on a handful out of county misdemenor charges at his home. The man said that while he was not feeling 100% well at the time of his arrest, he was feeling poorly but attributed that to the stress of the situation.
"I will say that the arresting officer was a kind and decent person who you could tell had a heart of gold,' the man said. "I remember him as being kind and decent. Professional on every level. I believe he is a good man doing a difficult job."
The man said that it was not until he reached the processing center that he began feeling extremely ill and became more and more concerned.
"I had mentioned to the detention officers that I was feeling ill and believed that I needed medical attention," the man says. "At one point the detention officer admitted to passing the responsibility to Nueces County and that he would let them deal with it when I eventually arrive in their custody."
During his processing the man was told by a detention officer to "we'll get you to county in a little bit and let them [expletive] deal with you," the man details of his experience.
But by then, the time for treatment had already elapsed.
For some 5 hours the man was kept in a cold holding cell at the Corpus Christi city jail awaiting transport to county. At least twice while in the city's custody the man advised detention officers of his poor health. He was then placed in a transport van and taken to Nueces County for further processing and it is there that he nearly immediately got the help that he desperately needed.
The man says that a nurse at Nueces County immediately recognized slurred speech and facial drooping. She checked his blood pressure which was in the 200s. She recognized that the man was likely having a stroke and refused responsibility for him and called an ambulance.
"The most reassuring thing to me that I was going to be fine was when the firefighters walked in calmly and took control," the man says. "I owe them and the nurse a debt of gratitude."
He was transported to Spohn Shoreline where he was met with an immediate CT scan and met with a doctor who confirmed his diagnosis. The doctor then confirmed that the man was out of the treatment window for a specific lifesaving medication given to persons in his condition--which now in the minds of the man and his attorneys raises serious questions about the training and capabilities of the city's detention staff, their policies and procedures.
The man was admitted to hospital for treatment, given back his phone and keys and seemingly released from custody. He claims that while he overheard officers talking about reactivating the warrants and allowing him to tend to them another day, he is still concerned and that he felt like he was never able to fully focus on his recovery.
After leaving the hospital, the man has begun to feel ill again, coughing up blood and vomiting large amounts of blood often. He is suffering from nosebleeds, weakness and paralysis which medical experts told us could be signs of potentially serious complications that need immediate treatment.
While he maintains that now that he is aware of the out of county misdemenor warrants, he will simply act on the advice of his attorneys and bond out on them and handle them immediately once his health is more stable.
"This man is in no shape for transport to another county in restraints and to be caged up for several hours in a transport vehicle that is designed for a much smaller person," said one legal expert that we interviewed for this story. "That would be problematic all the way around."
Medical experts say that the man would require frequent stops, stretching and medical attention during transport to prevent the development of blood clots.
"I cannot sit down for 10 minutes without my lower extremities going numb," the man says. "Plus I am seeking special aftercare which is difficult to obtain under normal circumstances."
The man does say that while he does intend to take care of the misdemenor warrants, he and his attorneys would like to eventually address these serious issues with Corpus Christi police officials and hold those responsible for not addressing his healthcare needs accountable.
"In the era in which we live this poses serious questions," said a spokesperson for the ACLU. "It is fortunate for everyone that he survived and is able to recount some of what happened to him."
"Though he was not suicidal that we know of, it causes serious concerns about the compliance with the Sandra Bland Act, jail practices and standards and a host of other concerns," the ACLU spokesperson said on Tuesday. "I would encourage anyone who has ever experienced this to reach out to us."