Lawsuit claims medical company is negligent in Richmond County jail

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Thursday, January 3, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O’clock / NBC 26 at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The case of a mother who died in the Richmond County jail is set to go to trial Feb. 11.

It's the third time in five years that Richmond County's inmate medical care provider, Correct Care Solutions, has been sued for negligence.

The latest lawsuit was filed in Federal Court just last month.

The lawsuit filed in 2014 claiming Correct Care Solutions "failed to provide access to competent medical care" was dismissed with prejudice, according to court records.

Mother of two, Debra Leverett, was arrested on March 30th, 2016, according to an arrest warrant obtained by News 12. The 50-year-old was booked into the Richmond County jail on charges she entered an automobile with the intent to commit theft.

Leverett would die a little more than a month after entering the Richmond County jail.

A lawsuit filed by her children alleges the company that Richmond County pays more than $4 million to provide inmate medical care "delayed access" to care they claim "would have saved her life."

The lawsuit claims on April 5th, Leverett reported "10/10" abdominal pain. Her symptoms were reported as "sharp, cramping and intermittent." The lawsuit alleges her vital signs were normal and a one-time order of Magnesium citrate was entered by a nurse practitioner with Correct Care Solutions.

The lawsuit claims at 10:59 in the morning Leverett made a sick call and was charged $5. She allegedly told a worker "I feel like I can't breathe. I'm sore all over .. can't use the restroom at all I need something for this thank [you]."

On April 11th, the lawsuit alleges she called her mother saying "I'll die if I don't get out of here."

The lawsuit lists six times Leverett was seen by a nurse between April 6th and May 1 and lists three sick calls she made to Correct Care Solutions. Two of the sick calls were made on April 9, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit states that the someone replied to one of the sick calls made April 9 on April 15.

The lawsuit claims on the night of April 30 a nurse saw Leverett at 5 and 8 p.m. as a result of a reported medical emergency.

The lawsuit claims the following day, on May 1, records show a nurse came to Leverett's jail pod around 5 a.m., but that Leverett refused to come out of her cell, "barely able to speak" and "unable to get out of her bed."

The lawsuit claims hours later, at 7:05 a.m., Leverett was found unresponsive and without a pulse.

The suit states the GBI autopsy attributed her death to Peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal wall.

In response to the lawsuit, Correct Care Solutions claims at all times they've "met or exceeded the standard of care" and denies all allegations of negligence.

News 12 asked Augusta-Richmond County spokesman if they plan to audit the care being given to inmates. The spokesman asked for more time to respond because their legal team is out until Monday.