A former inmate in the Century Correctional Institution, Ryan Huff, last week filed a federal lawsuit against Corizon, the state’s corrections health care services provider, and three of its employees for alleged poor health care he received for colitis that left him with a colostomy bag when he was released.
According to the complaint. Huff was incarcerated in December 2013 at the Century Correctional Institution in Escambia County to serve a 5-year sentence for violating probation. In May 2014, while housed at the nearby Berrydale Work Camp, he made “sick call requests describing worrisome changes in bowel movements including frequency and increasing amounts of blood.”
Dr. Allen Ho, the chief health officer for the prison, prescribed over-the-counter stool softeners, but Huff’s condition continually worsened. In June 2014, Huff was admitted to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola and was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. According to the complaint. Huff alleges he was “prematurely taken out of Baptist Hospital” after Corizon executives complained “they are losing over a million dollars a month under their contract with the Florida Department of Corrections.”
Huff was discharged from Baptist Hospital on June 29, 2014. The complaints states: “The discharging doctor, Laura K. Magan, notes she was unable to reach Dr. Ho prior to discharge and expressed surprise that the patient was transferred back to the prison with no doctor-to-doctor communication.”
After his return to Century Correctional Institution Huff was taken off his IV and most of his medications. Though his health began to worsen, the inmate was discharged from the prison clinic back and sent to prison housing.
Within days, Huff was “locked up in a tiny confinement cell about the size of a parking space for 24 hours a day without medical care” for using the bathroom without “a special bathroom pass” that Ho denied him, according to the complaint.
Near the end of July 2014, Huff was referred briefly to a Corizon-run reception and medical center before being returned to solitary confinement, where suffers severe nausea, rectal bleeding, vomiting, weakness, and high fever. He is hallucinating and tries to bring down
his fever by pouring water from the sink in the cell onto his head. According to the complaint,
Huff is convinced that he is going to die alone in that cell.
After about three days, Huff is taken out to taken to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, where Corizon maintains a secure wing. Doctors determined that his lower intestines were seriously compromised. Huff underwent surgery for “subtotal colectomy with ileostomy surgery.” Not yet 30 at the time, the inmate was forced to eliminate his bodily waste into a colostomy bag.
When discharged from Memorial Hospital, Huff was released back into the general population. He claims that he haphazardly received prescribed medications and care and was denied prescribed items, such as a special low-residue diet and replacement colostomy bags. Huff was released in May 2017.
In the complaint, Huff stated he continues to suffer pain, disability, disfigurement and “permanent damage to overall health and bodily condition” and is “at significantly higher risk for health problems in the future.”
Huff seeks compensatory damages, attorney fees, costs, punitive damages, a jury trial on all counts and any such further and additional relief as this court deems proper.
In 2016, Corizon and the Florida Department of Corrections settled a class action lawsuit on the behalf of 1,800 current and former Florida prison inmates who were denied medical care for hernias. Corizon’s share of the settlement was $1.7 million.
Read complaint – Corizon.