Chesterton Tribune

Former PCJ inmate sues sheriff and warden alleging failure to provide medical care

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A Porter County paraplegic who was held for more than four months in the Porter County Jail in 2010 is suing the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, alleging that jail staff failed to provide necessary medical and hygienic attention during his incarceration.

On Feb. 28, Brooks Willmon filed suit against the PCSP, the PCJ, Sheriff Dave Lain and Warden John Widup.

According to the suit, Willmon “is a severely handicapped 26-year-old paraplegic who is paralyzed from the waist down” and who “requires a wheelchair, various prescription medicines, a urinary catheter which must be changed frequently, and diapers for uncontrollable bowel movements.”

On April 1, 2010, the suit states, Willmon was arrested and detained at PCJ and after a week in medical isolation was transferred on April 7 “to an individual padded cell” until his release on Aug. 6.

During that time, the suit alleges, jail staff “left him to sit on the concrete floor in puddles of his own urine and feces for hours and days at a time,” despite his “continual requests for opportunities to bathe and for access to diapers and supplies for Mr. Willmon’s necessary care.”

In addition, the suit alleges, jail staff refused or neglected to provide Willmon access to the prescribed daily doses of his prescription medications; removed his wheelchair, catheter, and diaper and did not assist him in the use of the restroom; refused or neglected to give him access to a shower “within a reasonable amount of time after he had soiled himself”; and failed to “provide him with reasonably adequate care and attention after he had developed serious wounds and sores on his body as a result of having to remain seated in his own excrement for several days on end.”

Those wounds and sores subsequently became “severely infected with various types of dangerous and life-threatening bacteria” and have forced Willmon to undergo “multiple surgical interventions,” the suit alleges.

And, as a result of “the gross disregard for the health and survival of a handicapped person in (the jail staff’s) custody, Mr. Willmon continues to suffer and undergo bone grafts and other invasive treatment in hope of saving his life,” the suit alleges.

Willmon is seeking a jury trial and “compensatory damages in an amount commensurate with his damages and injuries” as well as legal fees, the suit states.

In a second count, Kimberly Willmon, Brooks Willmon’s wife, is also suing the PCSP, PCJ, Lain, and Widup and seeking damages for “loss of consortium, society, and affection” of her husband and for “loss of his spousal duties, services, and affection, some of which damages are permanent in nature.”

The PCSP told the Chesterton Tribune today that Willmon was taken into custody on April 1, 2010, on a charge of failure to comply, four counts, in connection with original charges of strangulation, domestic battery, pointing a firearm, carrying an unpermitted handgun, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and criminal mischief.


Posted 3/6/2012