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I was jailed and my medication wasn't provided for me after informing the jail of my condition. This has caused health issues.

Winter Haven, FL |

I was jailed, I immediately informed the book in medical team of my medications for anxiety. It took them 2 days for me to see a doctor at that point I was going through severe withdraws and was told that Polk County didn't let me take the medication I needed and they were going to put me on another drug to stop my withdraws and another for the anxiety, but would be 2-3 days before the meds arrived and during this time I started having severe withdraws and now have mental episodes along with panic attacks and at one point I was hearing and think things and thought people were mentally abusing me, before I bonded out and got back to my meds. I have notice that this event has caused damage to me well beyond what I had previously had and need to know what my options are legally due to this.

The medical personnel informed me they didn't agree with it, but the Polk County, FL jail didn't allow patients to take Xanax or most benzodiazapines. I was previously jailed 1 year earlier in Pinellas County, FL and they called my DR and pharmacist, and within 4 hours I had my prescribed medications. Regardless I was not prescribed anything to prevent the severe withdraws, anxiety and panic attacks that I experienced and that 3 days in the Polk County Jail caused me to mentally break and I have never previously been in the mental state I was in and since returning home I am still having episodes of this nature, I never had any such mental episodes before this event. Polk County, FL has a unique way of doing whatever they like, within the last month they have began recording all calls between inmates and their attorneys to use as evidence.

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Attorney answers 3


You information did not address whether it was the jail personnel who gave these orders or whether it was medical personnel at thejail clinic. One might have a medmal component but not if it was the jailer. In either event, there may be a cause of action and only a lawyer familiar with actions of these sort in Fl. can answer definatively. I would say, that depending on your charges, there may be a lack of jury sympathy which is a main ingredient in every case. Many penal institutions substitute generic medications, there would have to be some clear difference in the meds to cause the decisions made to fall below the standard of care required.


You may have a cause of action but because the lack of medication caused no permanent injury it would be hard to show strong evidence on the damages side to make up for the prejudice you will receive since this happened in jail. Juries typically only award large damage awards in jail negligence cases to severe permanent injuries.


I agree with Mr. Young and Mr. Wolfe that you need severe and permanent injuries to make these cases worth pursuing. When a jail or prison is involved, there are generally two causes of action that potentially arise. The first is a claim under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for deliberate indifference. The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment to prisoners. Deliberately refusing medical care to a prisoner in need of it violates this provision and gives rise to a cause of action in Federal Court. In these cases, the prisoner must prove that the prison guards or officials intentionally refused necessary medical care to the prisoner. Medical malpractice alone does not rise to the level of deliberate indifference in these claims.

There may also be a cause of action for medical malpractice under existing state laws for failure to render proper medical care to a prisoner. Generally, these causes of action require that the prisoner prove medical malpractice under a negligence standard.

Under either type of case (and an action can be instituted for both), the prisoner must show permanent injury of a substantial nature to justify the expense in pursing the matter. Qualified medical malpractice lawyers will not take cases that will leave the client with little or nothing after payment of the expert expenses. In these cases, those expenses may be even higher because you may need a prison medicine expert and a physician who specializes in the type of care you received. I have successfully handled several of these cases, including one where medication was not given, but the injuries resulted in death of the prisoner.