Columbia County inmate death brings suit

Family of man who died last year in custody sues in federal court

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:20 AM
Last updated 10:10 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

The family of a Columbia County jail inmate who died in custody last year has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Sheriff Clay Whittle and the jail’s medical staff.

The complaint, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, includes an affidavit from Dr. Harlan Luke, who says that after reviewing medical records, he thinks “the nurses who treated John Wayne Siple violated the standards of care exercised by nurses in general.”

Siple, 44, of Hereford Farm Road, was arrested March 24 and charged with manufacturing marijuana after 86 plants and growing equipment were taken from his home, according to past reports. Luke’s affidavit says that Siple was experiencing withdrawal from the painkiller Xanax and that employees of the contracted medical provider, Southern Health Partners Inc., should have known he needed medical attention.

On the day he died, April 5, his body temperature was 94.5 degrees around 10 a.m., but a non-emergency transport to Doctors Hospital wasn’t requested until 1:30 p.m., the lawsuit says. During a shower to prepare him for transport, Siple collapsed without a pulse and was taken to Doctors Hospital, where he died at 3:44 p.m., according to the suit.

An autopsy report dated July 7 lists the cause of death as hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Luke doesn’t dispute the cause of death in his affidavit, but says the medical staff’s inattention to Siple’s symptoms exacerbated the condition that led to cardiac arrest. An attorney for the Siple family said he could not comment Tuesday.

Capt. Steve Morris, the spokesman for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, said last year that jail medical staffers followed protocol for treating inmates arriving with substance abuse issues. He said inmates “detoxing” are carefully watched.

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nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 03/06/12 - 11:14 am
1
2
I don't want to be rude here
Unpublished

I don't want to be rude here about a man's death but, had he not been breaking the law growing marijuana the he might be alive today and would possibly getting the best of care if this had occurred at his own home.

If a person puts himself in this kind of circumstance then he alone should bear the responsibility of the final results not the taxpayers.

Everyone of us will pay for this law suite. I'm just saying. It is a shame he died but his death shouldn't cost the tax paying public more money.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 03/06/12 - 11:45 am
3
1
It appears to me that because

It appears to me that because he had an addiction to Xanax and was not monitored properly while being incarcerated, his death is a result of lack of proper medical care. I don't know of anyone who has been arrested for marijuana and died from not being able to smoke it.

Yes, if he had not been breaking the law, he never would have been incarcerated, but is that justifcation for poor medical care and ultimately his death. Seems to me a steep price to pay for growing marijuana.

As for costing money....I'd rather it be spent on a trial that might help rectify a neglectful situation so another family doesn't have to go through senselessly loosing a love one as Wayne's family has, than some of the stuff taxpaying money is spent on.

dhpsmp
20
Points
dhpsmp 03/06/12 - 12:01 pm
0
0
Inchristlove, I ask you what
Unpublished

Inchristlove, I ask you what kind of medical care would he have had at home if he had not been arrested? His health problems were caused by his habits and the taxpayers should not have to be a lottery jackpot for his relatives. They should have done more to help him overcome his addictions.

ripjones256
-1
Points
ripjones256 03/06/12 - 12:13 pm
0
0
If a person's temperature is
Unpublished

If a person's temperature is 94.5, why would you put them in a shower? I can't seem to find a Dr. Harlan Luke by Google. There is a listing for a Dr. Harlan Luke South, who practices in Roswell, GA. Is this the doc ?? If so, he's an ER doc @ North Fulton. What is the connection ?

ANGEL
0
Points
ANGEL 03/06/12 - 12:18 pm
2
0
Xanax is not a pain killer.

Xanax is not a pain killer.

ripjones256
-1
Points
ripjones256 03/06/12 - 12:42 pm
0
0
WebMD states: "Alprazolam can
Unpublished

WebMD states: "Alprazolam can lead to addiction (dependency), especially at high dosages over prolonged periods of time. Abrupt discontinuation of the alprazolam after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal such as insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue. Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal. " I don't see any of those symptoms, other than seizure, that could cause death. Xanax treats anxiety disorders, not pain. Sounding a little fuzzy to me.

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 03/06/12 - 01:25 pm
0
3
Bottom line. CCSO is not
Unpublished

Bottom line. CCSO is not responsible for the man's addiction to a drug. They should only be responsible for any aliments that happen to him inside the jail.

This was a result of his illegal and irresponsible behavior outside of the jail. Should they have helped him? Sure. Should they be legally responsible to help him? No. Their job is to keep criminals off the street until there is sufficient time for a trial and possible conviction.

If a person has medical needs like medicine then it should be the family's responsibility not the taxpayer.

SAPCS
35
Points
SAPCS 03/06/12 - 01:29 pm
0
0
Did he have a prescription

Did he have a prescription for Xanax and was he taking it as directed? I seriously doubt that he would have failed to mention this fact if he were taking it under a doctor's orders. If he was getting it from his local street corner pharmaceutical expert, that might change the circumstances a little bit. He probably wouldn't have volunteered that information willingly.

itsanotherday1
48335
Points
itsanotherday1 03/06/12 - 01:47 pm
2
3
The judge should toss it.

The judge should toss it.

"An autopsy report dated July 7, 2011, lists the cause of death as hypertensive cardiovascular disease."

Bad heart, pure and simple.

christlove
0
Points
christlove 03/06/12 - 02:15 pm
0
1
Can someone please explain to

Can someone please explain to me how the taxpayers will be paying for this trial? If he was still in jail then yes the tax payers are paying for his care but he is no longer alive so how are the taxpayers going to be the ones paying for that?

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/06/12 - 02:46 pm
0
0
whoooooeee.. chilly in here

whoooooeee..

chilly in here

dhpsmp
20
Points
dhpsmp 03/06/12 - 04:24 pm
0
0
christlove, who do you think
Unpublished

christlove, who do you think is going to pay the lawsuit settlement if the family wins their case?

clumber
43
Points
clumber 03/06/12 - 05:12 pm
1
1
This is another example why

This is another example why tort reform is so badly needed, a frivolous lawsuit. This reform will n ot happen as long as lawyers, who profit, make the laws.

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 03/06/12 - 06:40 pm
1
1
Let's see, courtroom fees,
Unpublished

Let's see, courtroom fees, lawyers, CCSO employees there to testify, if CCSO loses higher insurance rates, settlement... What well do you think they dip out of to pay these costs? Tax payers.

Let's hope the judge tosses it.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 03/06/12 - 08:23 pm
1
0
This man was in the custody

This man was in the custody of CCSO and no matter what the circumstances when you have someone in your custody whether it be a child, an adult who cannot be responsible for themselves or a prisoner you are responsible for their care. If negligence is proven Columbia County is responsible and there will be a price that has to be paid.

micbare
18
Points
micbare 03/07/12 - 12:26 am
1
0
Did he inform the police at

Did he inform the police at the time of his arrest? That he was taking Xanax prescribed or not prescribed. I have never heard of a doctor prescribing someone enough xanax. That if they stopped it. It would stop their heart. I doubt seriously he was receiving this from a physician. Also lets remember how he was caught. Some high school students a Evans High were caught with marijuana. And they turned him in as their source. So you have a drug addict, marijuana grower. That sells drugs to children. It does not sound like his life is worth trouble of a law suit against the fine men and women of the Columbia County Sheriffs Department. That serve this county.

JRC2024
10479
Points
JRC2024 03/07/12 - 09:04 am
0
0
Don't feel sorry for him one

Don't feel sorry for him one bit. Growing pot and selling to kids. Toss it out of court. Xanax is a drug that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It warns on the label not to use with drugs or alcohol and that you can have seizures if you top taking this suddenly. I would expect the use of pot would make the use of this drug very dangerous. His fault for his actions and not the jail.

christlove
0
Points
christlove 03/07/12 - 09:52 am
1
0
Wow I can't believe....well

Wow I can't believe....well maybe I can...that you are implying that because of his dealings with drugs that he is not "worth" the trouble nor do you feel sorry about him one bit. How about his family? Do you feel sorry for them? I pray that you are not put in this situation where you loose someone that had a rough lifestyle but nontheless were still your family. WE ALL SIN...and in the One that makes the final decision... ALL SINS ARE CREATED EQUAL!!! If you speed, not buckle up, steal, deal drugs or even just gossip in the Makers eyes all these are the same!! Rest in Peace Uncle John!!

milesapart
0
Points
milesapart 03/13/12 - 08:49 am
0
0
We love you John Wayne Siple

We love you John Wayne Siple and you are every bit worth it. I pray that this helps bring change and awareness to all. RIP and every day we miss you.

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