Kelly Coltrain died during withdrawal, left in a pile of her own vomit as deputies ignored her repeated pleas to see a doctor.
The family of a Texas woman who died in a rural Nevada jail has settled a two-million-dollar wrongful death lawsuit with Mineral County Sheriff Randy Adams.
According to The Reno Gazette-Journal, a federal judge will monitor conditions at the jail for the next four years, all to ensure that Adams implements procedures ensuring that inmates receive proper medical care if and when they need it.
The settlement comes some two years after 27-year old Kelly Coltrain died in a Hawthorne, Nevada jail.
Coltrain, who addicted to heroin and dependent on other opioids, was left alone by deputies to come down from a high and “detox.” While facility protocol dictated that inmates in withdrawal be checked on every 30 minutes, Coltrain had been dead for six hours before her body was discovered.
The lawsuit, which was filed last year, accused of Sheriff Adams and his Mineral County deputies of exhibiting “deliberate indifference” to Coltrain’s “serious medical needs.”
Jail officials, notes the Star Tribune, refused to take Coltrain to the hospital across the street, even after they learned of her drug dependency. All the while, Coltrain had suffered multiple seizures and repeatedly requested intensive medical care.
“With the nationwide opioid crisis, it was unconscionable that the Mineral County Jail had no policy requiring medical attention for inmates going through withdrawal,” said two of Coltrain’s family’s attorneys, Terri Keyser-Cooper and Kerry Doyle. “With Kelley’s history of seizures, she was covered by a policy that deputies actively ignored.
“If they had taken her to the hospital as they were required to do when they learned she had a history of seizures, she would have seen a doctor, been medically treated, and be alive today.”
The complaint notes that deputies maintained a video feed of Coltrain’s cell, wherein she was vomiting, refusing meals and displaying strange physical behaviors.
An hour before her death, a jail official had entered Coltrain’s cell, handed her a mop, and instructed her to clean vomit off the floor.
In the suit, attorneys said there was no good, legitimate reason to deny care to “an inmate in such obvious medical distress […] leaving her unattended, lying face down and dead in her cell in her cell for more than 10 hours, ignored by all.”
“Defendants’ actions shock the conscience,” the suit added.
As part of the settlement, deputies will be required to seek medical clearances from the local hospital for inmates with a history of seizures. They’ll further have to abide by their policy of physically checking inmates under observation at least once every half-hour.
However, the settlement’s terms stipulate that the agreement isn’t an admission “of any fault, liability, or wrongdoing of any kind.”
Coltrain, notes the Star Tribune, had been arrested over unpaid parking tickets.