Local and Community News
Family Sues Orange County, Fla., Jail over Death
January 6, 2003
The family of Timothy Webb, an inmate who died of AIDS in 2000, is suing Orange County, Fla., for more than $1.5 million, claiming county corrections staff refused to provide him with drug treatment.Adapted from:
County lawyers claim everything reasonable was done to treat Webb, 40, including two extended stays at Florida Hospital between his arrest in April 2000 and his death three months later. But Orlando lawyer Larry Hanks filed the lawsuit Dec. 20, claiming Webbs rights had been violated because he was denied proper care. "Its mind-boggling to me that this man was out in the jail [instead of being in a hospital]. For some reason they chose not to treat him with the prescribed medicines," Hanks said.
Records show that Webb was arrested repeatedly in Orlando and Orange County since the late 1980s. His last arrest was for working as a prostitute, and he pleaded no contest. Webb was diagnosed with AIDS in 1997 and began treatment for Pneumocystis pneumonia. After his final arrest, his mother brought his medicine to the jail but officials refused it, saying Webb was receiving appropriate care, according to court papers. On May 28, 2000, after several days of complaining of a high fever and difficulty breathing, Webb was transferred to Florida Hospital and diagnosed with Pneumocystis pneumonia. On June 5, he was sent back to jail with orders that he be treated with 10 drugs. A review of jail medical charts showed Webb never received any of the drugs, Hanks alleged in court papers. Webb was returned to Florida Hospital, where he died July 2, 2000.
In the last 10 years, 10 inmate deaths have resulted in legal claims against the county, according to John Petrelli, an administrator in the county risk management office. In 1998, county officials paid $3 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of inmate Susan Bennett from forced methadone withdrawal. No trial date has been set for the Webb lawsuit.
01.04.2003; Henry Pierson Curtis
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.