Former Garfield County inmate files suit |

Former Garfield County inmate files suit

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” A man who was held at the Garfield County Jail filed a lawsuit last week claiming jail staff deliberately ignored his medical needs in 2006, leading to a fall that caused him to lose sight in one eye.

William Brent Huntley was arrested by Glenwood Springs police Jan. 31, 2006, on a domestic violence charge and stayed at the jail until mid-April, according to his attorney, Matt Martin.

Around 3:52 p.m. that day, Huntley had a seizure in his cell, fell and injured himself, the complaint says.

Around 2:30 p.m., jailers saw Huntley on the floor of his cell and asked if he was OK, the complaint says, and Huntley said, “No.” Huntley claims the jailer didn’t tell medical staff about the interaction at the time.

Around 3:25 p.m., Huntley alleges, a jailer saw Huntley shaking in his bed and didn’t notify medical staff at the time. Huntley had a seizure sometime between then and 3:45 p.m., according to the complaint, and a nurse at the jail began examining him at 3:52 p.m. Huntley was started on “an alcohol withdrawal regimen” around 4 p.m., the complaint states, adding that his blood-alcohol content was then 0.113.

Huntley underwent surgery to try to regain eyesight in his right eye, which he claims was damaged from the fall. After surgery, the jail was told Huntley should stay in the hospital for a week, the complaint says. It says the jail and its health care provider “ignored the physician’s orders, forcing [Huntley] to leave after only one night in the hospital and return to jail.”

The complaint alleges jail staff took Huntley’s eye patch and refused to give it back or give him a new one. The jail’s actions worsened Huntley’s pain and suffering and were a “driving force” behind his injuries and permanent loss of eyesight, the complaint says. Martin, a Pueblo-based attorney, filed the complaint in federal court Jan. 31. It names Sheriff Lou Vallario and Correctional Healthcare Management.

The complaint says the jail did not follow its own policy saying inmates suffering from withdrawals will be promptly and regularly assessed and treated.

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