·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

Lawsuit: Virginia Man Died After Henrico County Jail Ignored Requests for Life-Saving Prescription Medicine

— April 28, 2024

Attorneys for the family of the deceased detainee claim that numerous calls were placed to the jail regarding Brad Hensley’s medical needs–none of which were returned by staff, culminating in Hensley’s death several days after intake.

The family of a Virginia man who died after spending four days in a Henry County jail have filed a lawsuit against the facility and its administrators, claiming that 41-year-old Brad Hensley was intentionally denied lifesaving prescription medication.

According to The Miami Herald, Hensley had not—at the time of his death—been convicted of any crime. He had, instead, been awaiting trial at the Henry County Adult Detention Center.

While there, Hensley repeatedly warned corrections officers and medical staff that he had been diagnosed with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. If left untreated, this rare condition can cause rapid kidney failure.

Hensley, who needed to take two doses of prescription steroids every day, was admitted to the detention center on August 2, 2022. However, Hensley did not receive any medication for two days—by which time he had fallen sick, and was unable to swallow his pills.

In one incident, Hensley—with a jail nurse in his presence—tried to take his medicine, only to immediately regurgitate it.

Image via (CCA-BY-0.0). Public domain.

Attorneys for the Hensley family say that this incident alone should have provided sufficient cause to order the detainee’s immediate transfer to a hospital.

However, the detention center’s administration remained ambivalent to Hensley’s needs.

Between August 3 and August 5, for instance, Hensley’s mother and sister called the facility at least 18 times. They left repeated voice messages, emphasizing that—if Hensley had missed any doses of his medication—he needed “emergency hospitalization and treatment.”

But the Henry County Adult Detention Center never retuned any of the family’s calls, nor did request Hensley’s transfer to a better-equipped facility.

The Miami Herald notes that Hensley was being held on relatively minor charges: possession of burglary tools, and petit larceny.

In Virginia, petit larceny is defined as stealing items worth $5 or less from a person, or the theft of goods valued at $1,000 or less.

“Brad’s life would have been saved if the healthcare providers and deputies at Henry County simply did their jobs and provided Brad with his medication in a timely fashion,” attorneys said. “Because they refused to do so, a loving son and brother unnecessarily lost his life.”

The lawsuit notes that several corrections officials either ignored Hensley’s complaints outright, or accused the 41-year-old detainee of “faking it”—despite Hensley exhibiting obvious signs of severe medical distress, including diarrhea and vomiting blood.

“During the several days that Defendants knowingly deprived Brad of his urgent prescribed medications for a known adrenal disorder and watched him write in distress while heading towards foreseeable death, they also ignored the frantic warnings of concerned family members,” the lawsuit alleges.

The Hensley family is seeking unspecified damages and requests a jury trial.


Family begs jail to give man life-saving medicine — but get ignored, suit says. He died

Henry County family sues jail and healthcare providers for son’s ‘preventable death’

Join the conversation!