Sheriff, county commissioners added to jail death suit

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Montgomery Sheriff, county commissioners added to jail death suit

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck and county commissioners have been added as defendants in a lawsuit brought by the family of a woman who died of an impacted bowel while in the county jail.

The mother of Sasha Garvin — a sufferer of Crohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease who died May 19, 2017, after complaining of severe abdominal pain — filed a medical malpractice suit in May 2018 against jail health-care provider NaphCare.

Attorney Doug Brannon said the case may be moved to federal court by the county defendants, who have yet to file an answer to the amended complaint.

RELATED: Jail health-care provider sued for bowel obstruction death of inmate

Brannon said the case involving NaphCare had been scheduled for mediation, but had to be postponed. He said those talks were canceled after Streck and the Board of Commissioners were named.

“Based upon some things we’ve learned in the discovery process,” Brannon said, “we thought it was prudent to add the county as defendants in the case.”

A Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman said the office didn’t have the new document: “Plaintiff’s counsel did not provide the Prosecutor’s Office an advance courtesy copy of the amended complaint or otherwise inform the Prosecutor’s Office that Plaintiff’s counsel was filing the amended complaint, as is customary in civil litigation.”

Streck declined comment.

RELATED: Inmate to jail staff: ‘She’s dead, she’s been dead for a while’

Anne Johnson, Garvin’s mother, died in October 2018, so the suit is now brought by Johnson’s husband and Garvin’s stepfather, Randall Johnson Jr.

The suit previously had named as defendants NaphCare Inc. and NaphCare employees April Merkt, Greg Mills, Dr. Brenda Ellis, Pamela Mitchell and Darrell Rader.

The initial and amended complaint alleged seven specific allegations and noted that Garvin was booked into the jail May 9, 2017, for failure to appear for traffic offenses.

RELATED: Woman died in jail of bowel obstruction, not overdose

The complaint reported Garvin complained of pain on both May 17 and May 18, 2017, but wasn’t seen by Ellis or transported to a hospital despite having abnormal vital signs, feeling cold and clammy and saying her pain level was a 10 out of 10.

Garvin was found dead in her cell the morning of May 19, 2017, and a cellmate told jail employees that Garvin was “dead, she’s been dead for a while.”

Jail officials once had said a drug overdose was suspected before the county coroner’s office found that Garvin had no illegal drugs in her system and died of an impacted bowel.

RELATED: Mother wants answers about daughter’s death in Montgomery County Jail

Brannon wrote that defendants knew or should have known they couldn’t treat Garvin’s medical conditions.

“Defendants were aware or should have been aware that the wrongful conduct of Defendant NaphCare as well as its employees, agents, contractors resulted in the injury and/or death of Montgomery County inmates Robert Richardson, Dylan Abplanalp, Jeffrey Day, Thomas Goney Jr., Robert Linkous, Joseph Guglielmo and others.”

The chief legal officer for Birmingham, Ala.-based NaphCare, Bradley Cain, said last year that Naphcare’s July 2017 comments “stand today.”

RELATED: Local woman dies in Montgomery County Jail

That statement read, in part, “The recent death of Sasha Garvin is a tragic loss. While we can’t discuss the specifics of patient care due to privacy laws and ethical obligations, every day NaphCare works hard and innovates to save lives and improve patient health.”

A sheriff’s office spokeswoman said in May 2018 that an internal investigation into Garvin’s death is ongoing. The Dayton Daily News has requested an update of that investigation.

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