Of course it was negligence. Gross negligence, as with scores of other articles I have posted. Wake up, America! Health care in our prisons is a joke, and it is costing YOU BILLIONS of $$$$$$ every year.
Read about the needless death of Tom Husar. Unfortunately, his parents are mistaken in thinking that a $5 million verdict will be a deterrent. It won’t; I have seen too many of these! The only possible deterrent is prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible!
Excerpts from the Article:
It was negligence, Thomas Husar’s parents claim in a lawsuit, when their son’s medical needs went unanswered for at least 12 hours in the Broome County jail.
It was deliberate indifference, they say, when corrections officers ignored 40-year-old Thomas as he began crying for help from his cell the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2019 — pleas other inmates echoed on his behalf in the hours that followed.
And it was a violation of Thomas’ legal rights, his parents argue, when jail personnel failed to provide him with adequate medical care for his chronic illness during the three weeks he spent behind bars before he died.
The $5 million in damages sought by Thomas’ parents Mike and Diane Husar in a negligence lawsuit filed in court Sept. 15 won’t bring him back, but they argue it could bring accountability for his death while he was in jail.
The seed of a lawsuit — Husar was the ninth Broome County inmate to die in the jail since 2011 — was planted in January when the Husars filed a notice of claim against the county and the sheriff’s office, their first step toward legal action. The 19-page lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court of Broome County argues Thomas Husar’s death was preventable.
Diane and Mike Husar of Binghamton with photos of their late son Tom Husar, who died in November 2019. Tom suffered from a chronic disease and was in the Broome County Jail on a probation violation when he died. January 23, 2020.
“Thomas was not monitored or treated with reasonable care under the circumstances, and was not monitored or treated in accordance with internal policy, statewide regulations … for providing basic medical care to inmates in a correctional environment,” Ray Schlather, the Husar’s Ithaca-based attorney, said in the lawsuit.
Defendants in the complaint include Broome County, Sheriff David Harder, the jail’s administrator Major Mark Smolinsky, as well as unnamed John/Jane Doe defendants who are employed by the county.
Thomas Husar, a Chenango Valley High School graduate and Eagle Scout, stood at 6-foot-5 and loved to play basketball. But when his attempts at playing at the college level didn’t pan out, he turned to coaching. Husar spent a year coaching in North Carolina, then took a job as an assistant college coach at Mount St. Vincent’s in New York City.
But in 2009, after about two years battling intense pain symptoms, doctors put him on a grueling regimen of high-dose opioid medications. He’d been diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis, a condition that created high numbers of mast cells in his small bowel wall.
Background:Thomas Husar died after his arrest on a probation violation. His parents blame the jail.
A doctor who treated Husar in New York City described it as an “unusual condition,” one that couldn’t be cured, but could be treated. Symptoms included chronic severe abdominal pain, unpredictable swelling of the ankles to an extent that impedes walking and in other parts of the body, transient numbness, headache, nausea, vomiting, fever and excessive thirst.
That diagnosis and his strict medication requirements cut Husar’s coaching career short in 2015, and he returned to Broome County to live with his parents. Two years later, in 2017, Husar was charged in Binghamton with driving while impaired by drugs. His family believes his prescription medication was a factor in the arrest.
He pleaded guilty in exchange for probation, which he was later accused of violating for missing a court appearance in 2019. He was jailed that October.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday argues the Broome County Sheriff and the jail’s administrator were personally informed of Husar’s illness, that he’d been in the jail’s medical unit and that he’d previously been hospitalized while an inmate.
The lawsuit said Husar had been taken into custody earlier in 2019, and spent a week hospitalized while handcuffed to his bed, before he was released. In late October, about a week before Husar’s death, the lawsuit said, a corrections officer requested that Husar be returned to the jail’s medical unit because of his declining health. That requested transfer never happened.
Husar lost about 30 pounds during his three weeks in jail and he developed an ulcer, according to the lawsuit. He was awaiting a Nov. 6, 2019 court date.
The lawsuit said Husar began calling for help from his cell around 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, showing “obvious pain, confusion and distress.” For 12 hours, the lawsuit claims, his cries were ignored and no attempts at medical care were made. Some jail personnel allegedly told others to “ignore him,” the lawsuit said, and a lockdown of the cell block was ordered.
The next morning, at 2:38 a.m., jail officers found Husar collapsed in his cell. He was later pronounced dead.
A copy of Thomas Husar’s death certificate stated the manner of his death was by natural cause, the result of bleeding out from the ulceration of an artery.
But the lawsuit also argues “deficient and substandard” policies and practices by Broome County officials during Husar’s incarceration, either individually or in combination, were factors in his death.
Read the Thomas Husar lawsuit here: