On May 11, 2012, commuters on Interstate 275 in Tampa, Fl., saw a man careen into a guardrail before being stopped by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper. Speaking incoherently and without control of his left arm, 51-year-old Allen Daniel Hicks was having a stroke. Unable to exit the car and prove he was unarmed, he was arrested for obstructing a law enforcement officer.
According to TampaBay.com, paramedics on the scene did not diagnose the stroke, but did recommend he be transported to St. Joseph's Hospital. Instead of receiving any medical attention or even a screening, Hicks was thrown in county jail where he lay, face down on the floor. Occasionally he attempted to seek help by crawling with the still-functioning right side of his body. After three hours, Hicks received a medical assessment, but a stroke was not diagnosed. After 36 hours, pale, covered in his own urine, and suffering from extreme brain damage, Hicks was taken to the Tampa General Hospital.
Though Hicks was quickly diagnosed with an ischemic stroke, medical attention came too late. He slipped into a coma and died within three months.
After an investigation, litigation, and a settlement with the family of the deceased, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s County Office paid $200,000 in damages. The larger burden of the payment, however, fell on the private medical care provider to the jail. The Armor Correctional Health Services Inc., paid $800,000 to Hicks' estate in February. Though the Sheriff’s Office has kept the provider, it has revoked the security clearance of two health services employees. The Sheriff’s Office has also implemented training regimens to recognize symptoms of a stroke.
Hicks was a beloved baseball coach at a local school and father of several children who, more than a year later, are still angry over their father’s needless death.
Sources: Tampa Bay Times