Allegheny County pays $5K to man who claimed jail failed to feed him through tube

Allegheny County pays $5K to man who claimed jail failed to feed him through tube

Updated 18 minutes ago

Allegheny County paid a $5,000 settlement to a former inmate with a severed esophagus who claimed the jail staff failed to feed him through a tube, according to documents from county Executive Rich Fitzgerald's office.

Christopher Wallace, 31, of Pittsburgh's Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood, sued Fitzgerald, Jail Warden Orlando Harper, Corizon Health Inc., a Corizon doctor and five Corizon nurses in October 2016 in federal court, claiming due process violations and medical malpractice.

Tennessee-based Corizon had provided health care at the jail until Fitzgerald terminated its contract in late 2015. The company did not pay a settlement to Wallace, said Bret Grote, Wallace's attorney.

“I will say that we are satisfied with how the case as a whole, against all defendants, resolved,” Grote said.

County Spokeswoman Amie Downs declined comment.

A bullet severed Wallace's esophagus when he was shot 14 times in October 2013, according to a complaint filed in the lawsuit. Wallace had to have a feeding tube installed.

In February 2015, Wallace was arrested on charges of robbing two banks. Grote said Wallace robbed the banks to pay for feeding tubes because he had lost his Medicaid coverage.

When he arrived at the jail, he was taken to UPMC Mercy where he was described in hospital records as as “malnourished, emaciated and underweight,” the complaint said.

Hospital staff instructed jail officials that Wallace needed five daily tube feedings, but he did not receive them, the complaint said. On some days, staff fed Wallace only once or not at all, according to the complaint.

In March 2015, Wallace returned to UPMC twice for malnutrition, according to the complaint, once suffering a heart attack.

The county stated it believed Wallace received “adequate nutrition” in the jail and confirmed that the inmate went to UPMC three times, according to a document the county filed in the lawsuit.

From April 3, 2015, to his release on May 30, 2015, he received all his feedings, but continues to suffer from the ongoing effects of starvation, the complaint said.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, or via Twitter @tclift.

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Published at Fri, 06 Jul 2018 22:24:50 +0000

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