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Charleston County Detention Center Under Fire in Latest Wrongful Death Suit

— February 14, 2019

The family of Brianna Beland plans to sue the Al Cannon Detention Center, Dr. Theodolph Jacobs and Carolina Center for Occupational Health, LLC after Beland died from dehydration while in custody.

The family of Brianna Beland, a woman who passed away while in “custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center,” plans to sue the jail and others in a medical malpractice suit. According to court documents, Beland’s family is naming the county jail, “Dr. Theodolph Jacobs and Carolina Center for Occupational Health, LLC” as defendants.

Back on August 19, 2017, Beland was pronounced dead at MUSC only “five days after she had been booked into the facility.” She was booked on August 14, 2017, when she admitted to “using injectable drugs including heroin.” Additionally, jail intake records show she had a history of withdrawal.

Hands reaching for pills
Hands reaching for pills; image courtesy of EmilianDanaila via Pixabay,

While she was in custody at the Charleston County Detention Center, Beland began experiencing opiate and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, including “increased irritability and anxiousness.” A couple days after arriving, a court document claims she began “dry heaving and experiencing nausea.” Then, on August 17, “she was found passed out in the recreation yard.”

From there, she was admitted to the onsite medical facility “for four-hour monitoring and was prescribed Phenergan, an antihistamine that can help control pain, nausea, and vomiting.” The following day, around 12:30 p.m., Beland reported that she felt terrible and spent the night vomiting. The court document further states:

“An officer notified medical because he noticed she was experiencing hand spasms, and a muscle relaxer was requested. Ms. Beland stated that her hand and foot sometimes spasm when she is detoxing. Ms. Beland was sent back to the unit and advised to drink more water and to see the nurse for monitoring if it occurs again.”

Unfortunately, she eventually passed out after she was left unattended in the medical unit and was pronounced dead shortly after. According to the court document, “Beland’s death was caused by severe dehydration.”

In their suit, Beland’s family plans to sue over allegations that the defendants “deviated from the standard of care and skill generally exercised by treating physicians and/or medical personnel under similar conditions.” It also argues that the defendants “failed to recognize withdrawal symptoms in a heroin-dependent detainee, failed to recognize the seriousness of the symptoms and then to properly monitor Beland or give intravenous fluids or treat a detainee with ‘obvious’ withdrawal symptoms.”

The court document also alleges the defendants failed to “properly document and monitor a detainee’s vital signs, recognize symptoms of dehydration and kidney failure and provide the proper care and treatment.” It further states:

“It is more than likely than not that the above grossly negligent actions caused Ms. Beland’s death on Aug. 19, 2017.”


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