Family speaks for first time on Bamberg County negligence lawsuit

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 7:30 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - For the first time, we are hearing from the family of a Bamberg County inmate with mental health issues who died in the hospital after dropping 77 pounds in five months.

On Monday, we told you his family filed a lawsuit against Bamberg County claiming grossly negligent treatment of their loved one.

It claims in five months, he wasted away in jail despite being ordered to go to a psychiatric hospital.

The family told News 12 they’re struggling to find the words to express the pain they feel.

Pictured below is Alan Thibodeau and his three brothers, gathering around their father’s medical bed just before his passing in 2021.

Alan Thibodeau and brothers
Alan Thibodeau and brothers(wrdw)

Little did the brothers know, that the next time they would all be together, Alan would be the one in the hospital.

“When we did get to the hospital and the family did see him in that state, it didn’t look like him. The weight that he lost, up close and personal when you’re seeing all the marks, the bones in the shallow eyes. This isn’t our brother,” said his brother, Ed.

Alan suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

His other brother, Larry, said: “As you’ll find out from almost anybody who has some type form of schizophrenia, they’ll fight taking the medicine or they’ll take the medicine, they feel good, and they stopped taking it. Then they start to slowly go back into psychosis. It makes it very difficult at that time.”

When Alan got off track in 2022, his brothers found out he was in jail for a burglary charge several states away from Virginia, where they live.

The brothers said even though Alan was behind bars, they made sure to communicate his needs.

“We did let them know he cannot go long periods of time without his medication. He’s a diabetic. He’s got antipsychotic medication. He needs that. It was obvious to them that he needed the medication,” said Ed.

Larry said: “We were on the phone with his public defender regularly. It wasn’t like we were leaving Alan hanging, we all knew what was going on. We were told he was okay, that he was happy, that he was eating. We were not given the impression that or we had no idea that things had gotten that bad.”

The lawsuit states he never got his meds nor was he transferred to the psych hospital.

“It pissed us off to understand that he could have been treated in a different way to save his health and his life and that they were responsible. We want them accountable for that,” said Ed.

Accountable for their brother’s life, because they firmly believe he would still be here, had he gotten the care he needed sooner.