Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 31, 2012 – Not all wrongful death lawsuits that go to court are resolved in favor of the plaintiff. This is one of those cases.
“Wrongful death lawsuits are not always resolved in favor of the plaintiff, and this case is one of those instances. In this story, a jury found in favor of officials at a jail where an inmate had died due to drug withdrawal while in custody,” explained Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. The 41-year-old female prisoner died in 2005.
The woman’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, suggesting that medical professionals at the jail caused the woman’s heart attack, by not giving her the proper treatment during her withdrawal from opiates and alcohol. The county jail’s attorney suggested staff were monitoring her closely, but that her death was as unexpected as it was sudden.
“The jury agreed with the jail’s attorney, and found for the defendant at trial. Although the family was shaken by the verdict, it did prompt some major changes in the medical protocols at the prison; changes that would assist other inmates going through withdrawal symptoms due to substance abuse. Often wrongful death lawsuits are not about money, but about the wish that what happened to their loved one, never happens to anyone else. That in itself is often a great relief for the family,” Austin personal injury lawyer Schuelke explained.
While the case was a difficult one, it did result in a change in alcohol withdrawal protocols and added intravenous medication to the list of other tools at the disposal of jail staff dealing with someone experiencing acute withdrawal. Many inmates that end up in county jails are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and for many, their withdrawal is agonizing and requires close medical supervision.
“Wrongful death cases may be about many things, but more often than not, it is about the family wanting to make sure that what happened to their relative never happens to someone else. It is another form of justice that lives on and benefits others,” added Schuelke.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375
Austin, Texas 78703-4868
Call (512) 476-4944