Man dies after not receiving doses of essential medication in jail

Published: May. 28, 2023 at 5:38 AM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXT) - A man who died shortly after leaving a Florida jail did not receive any doses of an essential medication while he was in custody, according to newly obtained records from the sheriff’s office.

Police video shows Dexter Barry, a 54-year-old heart transplant recipient, on his way to the Duval County Jail on Nov. 18. Less than a week later, he was dead.

In the video, Barry tells the arresting officer about his transplant or the essential anti-rejection medication he needed for it seven times throughout the course of his arrest. He had waited more than two years to receive the new heart.

“I take rejection medicine for my heart transplant,” said Barry in the video. “I can’t miss no doses.”

But Barry’s family says he spent days in jail without the medication he needed to survive before he bonded out Nov. 20. He went to the hospital the next day, where he died three days later. His death certificate shows his heart stopped.

Barry’s daughter, Janelle King, says he dreamed of becoming a grandparent.

“The fact that my father’s not here and I’m trying to have a baby soon, it’s really gut-wrenching to me,” she said.

Records released by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office show Barry had a medical screening at the jail the day he was booked. His heart transplant and medications were noted, including his prescription for mycophenolate, an immunosuppressant used to keep a patient’s body from rejecting an organ transplant.

His health appointment was described as urgent.

But a log of medications Barry received at the jail over more than two days shows he never received the drug that protected his heart.

“How do you give him blood pressure and cholesterol meds but don’t give him the most important meds of all? That’s my only question. And we all know now that my dad’s rejection meds were the most expensive meds he took, so all this can be about is money,” King said.

Attorney Andrew Bonderud, who represents Barry’s family, says he waited five months for the records that show Barry never got his medication while in jail.

“I want to get answers because I think the city of Jacksonville, the people who live here and the people who run this city need to be educated about exactly what’s going on at the jail,” he said.

Barry was arrested on a charge of simple assault after he and his neighbor had a dispute over the Wi-Fi. If convicted, he could have faced a maximum of 60 days in jail.

He leaves behind a wife and four children, including King. The family plans to file a lawsuit, their lawyer says.