The Chester County prison and its private health-care contractor are facing a federal lawsuit in connection with the death of an inmate in March.
The suit was filed last week on behalf of the family of Rae-Mone Carter Jr., who died on March 16 of acute-onset diabetes. It argues that Carter’s death was preventable and that health-care workers employed by PrimeCare Medical Inc. did not provide treatment that would have saved him.
Carter’s family is seeking up to $900,000 in damages, according to the suit.
The suit also names the three Chester County commissioners, the prison warden and correctional officers, and several health-care employees at the prison as defendants.
Carter, 26, was serving time for drug possession with intent to distribute, said Michael Barrett, the family’s attorney. He had four children and had been at the county prison for 17 months when he became ill.
Carter had a family history of diabetes, but, according to the suit, medical records from “prior contacts” Carter had with PrimeCare list none of his family or medical history.
Five days before his death, according to the suit, Carter told PrimeCare employees that he had been vomiting for two days and had a sore throat. A nurse gave him Pepto-Bismol, the suit alleges.
Over the next three days, according to the suit, health-care workers at the prison treated Carter with Pepto-Bismol and antibiotics.
In the suit, fellow inmates testified that Carter appeared visibly and debilitatingly ill, and that a corrections officer allegedly told him to “stop . . . it’s not that serious.”
He was eventually admitted to the prison’s medical unit on March 14, but, the suit alleges, he was not seen by a doctor or physician’s assistant until the next morning.
On March 15, according to the suit, a registered nurse noticed that Carter’s blood sugar was elevated and called for an IV and insulin. He was taken to the hospital shortly afterward and died early March 16.
“He died a totally unnecessary death,” Barrett said Thursday. “He wasn’t being seen by nurses, he wasn’t being seen by doctors. He wasn’t being treated for diabetes, he was being treated with Pepto-Bismol.”
Barrett said Carter’s death constituted cruel and unusual punishment and also “an unjustified intrusion on personal security without due process of law” – because Carter was in prison when he got sick, he could not seek treatment on his own.
Chester County officials said Thursday they could not comment on the suit as they had not yet been notified of it.