Suit: Georgia prison system allowed inmate to die

The sister of a 50-year-old man who died six weeks before he was to be released from prison said in a federal lawsuit his death could have been prevented if he had been properly treated for an infection that started a week after another prisoner tattooed his arm.

Randall Davison’s sister, Cindy, asked in a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Statesboro for an undetermined amount of money to punish the prison system — specifically Georgia Correctional Health and a physician assistant at the Georgia State Prison at Reidsville — for allegedly doing nothing to save her brother.

Davison developed sepsis and died Feb. 15, 2015, of multiple-organ failure just six weeks before he would have completed a two-year sentence for violating probation for a Fannin County conviction for possession drugs and weapons.

“Mr. Davison died a painful and needless death after repeated and increasingly desperate pleas for medical care went unheeded,” said Sarah Geraghty, an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed the suit. “We call on the Department of Corrections to take a close look at medical care and conditions at Georgia State Prison.”

The Department of Corrections did not respond to an emailed request for comment on Monday.

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Geraghty said Davison is one of 14 inmates at the Georgia State Prison at Reidsville who died between May 1, 2014, and April 30, 2015.

The lawsuit alleges GSP staff showed “disregard and deliberate indifference to Mr. Davison’s serious and life-threatening medical need.”

According to the lawsuit, a week after Davison’s arm was tattooed, the tattoo was discolored and his arm, neck and chest were “beet red.” On Jan. 21, 2015, he was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication instead of an antibiotic, which is usually given to sepsis, according to the suit.

“When infected tattoos are treated early, significant illness and death is rare,” the lawsuit states. “When an infection develops into sepsis and a patient goes into septic shock, the mortality rate is nearly 50 percent.”

Davison complained other times between mid January and mid-February. He was once told “there was ‘nothing they can do’ because there was no health care provider on duty at GSP on the weekend,” the suit said.

“By the time Mr. Davison finally received medical treatment on Jan. 26, 2015, he was already in severe septic shock,” the suit said.

He was admitted into the intensive care unit at Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia on Jan. 26, 2015, and the ICU at Atlanta Medical Center on Feb. 7, 2015. He died eight days later.

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