In Florida and throughout the U.S., jails have a legal obligation to provide reasonable and necessary medical care to inmates. Having someone in custody means the jail is in charge of that person and responsible for his wellbeing during the period of confinement. Sometimes jailers forget about this or ignore physical complaints. Sometimes there are horrible consequences.
The family of a Duval County jail inmate hospitalized in a persistent vegetative state after an altercation with corrections officers has filed a federal civil rights and medical malpractice lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, city of Jacksonville, Correctional Medical Services – the city’s subcontracted health provider – and employees of each.
The suit says that John Laughon, 39, repeatedly complained while in jail for marijuana possession that he was deprived of necessary seizure medicine despite telling a nurse of his problem more than once. It further accuses correctional officers of inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on Laughon by responding to his violent seizures with physical beatings, then failing to provide timely medical care that could have prevented his vegetative state.
He has been in this condition since February 2005.