Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lawyer: Jail inmate died after being left alone, covered in feces


MIAMI -- A diabetic jail inmate who lost control over his lower body died after being left alone covered in his own feces for a week, and officials failed to get him medical treatment despite knowing of his condition, his attorney said Thursday.

Attorney David Kubiliun said Rodolfo Ramos, 41, was left in a solitary cell in Miami-Dade County jail even though a correctional officer there wrote that "I have made several attempts to (contact) medical staff to try and resolve this situation but to no avail."Inmate Ramos should not be housed in general population, he needs to be in a medical housing unit," the lawyer quoted the report as saying. "This situation needs to be addressed immediately in order to prevent a tragic, unforeseen incident."

Ramos died April 14 at a hospital, and pictures displayed at a news conference showed his body was covered with some type of bites. He was brought to the hospital March 25 from his solitary cell, where he had been kept for several days.

A telephone message left with the county's police department was not immediately returned.

The corrections department released a statement standing by its medical care and saying it was investigating Ramos' death as it would any other death at a corrections facility.

"While incarcerated, Mr. Ramos was regularly seen by doctors and medical staff, and hospitalized as needed. While Mr. Ramos's medical history is quite extensive and complex, there is no indication of a lack of medical care or attention in his case," the statement read.

Ramos' family members said Thursday, however, they were shocked and upset with his care at the jail, where he was awaiting trial on kidnapping charges.

One niece, Yeisleny Nodarse, said Ramos told her in telephone conversations that he was not receiving medication he took for diabetes. She said she repeatedly talked with nurses at the jail to see if he could get the drugs."

He used to call me back and say, 'Keep calling. They haven't given me the medicine,'" Nodarse said.

Another niece, Yamilka Cortina, who spoke with Ramos over the telephone said he told her he was not well."He was very desperate and in pain also," Cortina said.

Kubiliun called for an investigation into the death and the medical system at county jails.

"Rodolfo Ramos is not the first person whose medical needs have been ignored. We are calling for him to be the last," Kubiliun said.

Another attorney for the family, Lynn Overmann, said they would wait for autopsy results and for the conclusion of a homicide investigation to see if they would file a lawsuit.

Last modified: April 26. 2007 3:59PM

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