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Inmate death brings lawsuit

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By Bryan Marshall

The estate of an inmate who ultimately died after suffering medical issues at the Grant County Detention Center has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Mark Burden filed the lawsuit in federal court in Covington as representative of the estate of Danny Ray Burden.
The allegations include violation of civil rights, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death and conspiracy.
The many defendants include Jailer Terry Peeples, multiple jail employees, an inmate trustee and employees of Advanced Correctional Healthcare.
Burden was sentenced to serve his jail sentence at the Grant County Detention Center March 27, 2013.
He arrived at the jail at 12:07 p.m. and was assessed by Nurse Celeste Kiefner, who was informed by Burden that he was an insulin dependent diabetic and suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and anxiety/panic attacks.
All three illnesses had physician-prescribed medications for treatment and control.
The nurse conducted a blood sugar test on Burden in which his blood sugar level was 336 mg/dL.
“At this point, defendants knew or should have known, if they had been properly trained, supervised, equipped, etc., that Danny Ray Burden needed emergency medical attention or other reasonable medical treatment, evaluation, monitoring or care,” the lawsuit states.
The nurse contacted Dr. Nadir Al-Shami, who works for Advanced Correctional Healthcare, the company that provides medical service for the jail, to discuss Burden’s blood sugar level.
The doctor ordered the nurse to administer insulin, 20 units in the morning and 15 units at night, however no insulin was immediately provided to Burden, according to the lawsuit.
At 12:45 p.m., Burden was asked a series of questions during his booking process in which he “was increasingly lethargic to the point of nodding off and becoming incoherent and inconsistent with his answers,” the lawsuit states.
By around 2 p.m., Burden was allegedly unable to remain alert and coherent for an extended period of time and he requested an insulin shot from the chief warrant officer.
The insulin was not provided and, shortly thereafter, Burden reportedly began coughing profusely, leading a deputy jailer to stop the booking process and advise medical staff that Burden had requested emergency medical attention.
The nurse arrived at 2:02 p.m. and assessed that Burden’s blood oxygen level was 93 percent, his blood pressure was 131/84, his heart rate was 82 beats per minute and he had 16 breaths per minute.
Despite the medical assessment, the lawsuit states the nurse cleared Burden to continue the booking process.
However, the booking process was suspended at 2:14 p.m., according to the lawsuit, as Burden was unable to stay awake.
The chief warrant officer placed the inmate in a cell on detox watch.
A deputy jailer and an inmate trustee were assigned to observe Burden while in a cell on detox watch.
Later, Burden was relocated to another cell where he allegedly was not directly evaluated or supervised.
Two inmate trustees discovered Burden unconscious around 3:10 p.m.
They were unable to wake him.
Several jail employees attempted to wake Burden by calling his name, knocking on the cell door and banging keys on the sink, according to the lawsuit.
Medical assistance from the jail medical staff on duty was called for to assist Burden.
Smelling salts were unsuccessfully used to awaken Burden.
A Code Blue was called at 3:13 p.m., and shortly thereafter, resuscitation efforts began and 911 was called.
Dry Ridge EMS found Burden in asystole rhythm and after a couple minutes of CPR, medical personnel found sinus tachycardia symptoms.
Burden was transported to St. Elizabeth Edgewood Short Term Hospital Care, where he arrived at 3:46 p.m. and was admitted for altered mental status and cardiac arrest.
Burden was admitted into St. Elizabeth Edgewood later that day and remained there until he was admitted on April 3, 2013, to the Edgewood Hospice/Medical Facility.
Burden died the following day.
The estate is seeking judgement for compensatory and punitive damages.