INMATE LAWSUIT: Alexander Gilliana says he's been denied proper medical care in state prison unit.
A federal lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court against the warden of the Varner state prison unit, nurses there and others says that an inmate has been repeatedly denied dosages of medication critical to preventing his body's rejection of a transplanted kidney.
The lawsuit, filed by Little Rock lawyer John Wesley Hall
, said Alexander Gilliana,
22, has one transplanted kidney and must take 14 pills a day (seven drugs taken twice a day, 12 hours apart) to prevent rejection of the organ. He was on dialysis as a child and lost both kidneys, receiving a transplant in 2005. He's serving a sentence from Garland County for possession of a weapon on school grounds and assault and won't be parole eligible until September.
Hall's lawsuit said the warden had been sympathetic to complaints about Gilliana's medical needs, but guards and nurses had not been. The suit said these employees had said Gilliana refused drugs when he'd actually resisted their insistence that he double up doses rather than observe the timing protocol.
Said the lawsuit:
He is at the mercy of the Arkansas Department of Correction and Correct Care Solutions [the contract provider of medical services in the prisons] to get this life-saving medication, and they are failing their duty to him, nearly every day since he's been there. They have all kinds of lame excuses: You have to be in the pill call line between 1 :30-4:30 a.m. Then he gets in the line, and a guard comes up, as did defendant Giles, and he's told he can't be in the line. Sometimes he's been handcuffed by Giles and taken back to his barracks and denied all medication. Sometimes he's told to take the doses of 7 pills but six hours apart, not 12 hours, and he says he can't, so they write him up as "refused" when he didn't remotely refuse. He's trying to prevent an overdose, but they are acting like the medication protocol is optional like taking aspirin. On information and belief, the medication protocol is vital to success of a transplant, and any medical care provider knows it.
Hal's lawsuitl said the situation has become life-threatening. "His kidney now will most likely not last the rest of his life, and the deliberate actions and inactions of the defendants is certainly shortening the life of this kidney, and likely his life, and it deleteriously affects his health." He said the improper treatment could force the premature need for another transplant and dialysis during the wait for another kidney. " A kidney transplant costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the ADC and staff in the damages phase could become liable for it and plaintiffs pain and suffering."
The lawsuit alleges a repeated failure of prison guards and nurses to provide medication. It said he got no medication on five of his first 12 days at Varner; only one dosage on six days. It said prison employees claimed to have lost his medication four times and cited a computer freeze on another.
The lawsuit also alleges indifference on the part of nurses to the inmate's condition.
Defendants Amanda King and FNU (she declines to give her first name)Calloway are nurses at the Varner Unit directly involved in dealing with plaintiff. They have failed to provide him all his medication on multiple occasions. Calloway on one occasion told plaintiff that she hoped he "dropped dead." Defendant Maj. M. Malone is a supervisory correctional officer at the Varner Unit who plaintiffs grandfather called to complain about the lack of proper dosage of all the medications. Rather than deal with the issue appropriately, she told him "don't fucking call here again" because he has "caused a lot of trouble" seeking redress of grievances.
The suit seeks injunctive relief to ensure proper medication and, in time, a jury trial on a claim for damages.
Here's the full lawsuit.
Prison officials said they couldn't comment on pending litigation. The state hasn't yet responded. A preliminary hearing could be held as early as next week.