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Two claim medical negligence at Md. corrections facilities

Two inmates filed suits against the health care provider for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services this week, claiming medical negligence and constitutional violations.

Both lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday, allege negligence by Wexford Health Sources Inc., the medical care contractor for Maryland corrections since 2012.

The plaintiffs were in different facilities and name different doctors and nurses. Rockville attorney Samuel M. Shapiro, who filed both complaints, said Thursday that the cases are not connected. He declined to comment further.

Cornelius Knott was incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown in June 2016 when he developed numbness and pain in his left foot, according to his complaint. He was diagnosed with a muscle sprain and given ibuprofen.

Two weeks later, Knott returned for another evaluation of his left foot and was again released, according to the complaint. He returned days later to have his toenails clipped; records show his nails were “thick with fungus, discolored and misshapen.” He was seen again at the end of the month and a doctor concluded the symptoms were due to a medication, which was discontinued.

On July 9, Knott was taken to the hospital after doctors noticed his left leg was significantly colder than the right and had “thready distal pulses,” according to the complaint. Records of previous visits did not note pulse.

At the hospital, Knott was diagnosed with arterial thrombosis and found to be anemic, according to the complaint. He was transferred to another facility and his left leg was amputated.

Richard Loya, incarcerated at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County, sued over a lack of treatment for abdominal pain in June 2016, which ended up being appendicitis, according to his complaint.

Loya was seen and received no bloodwork or other analysis before being released on June 19, 2016; he returned four hours later and still received no testing, though he complained of constipation and vomiting for several days, according to the lawsuit.

At a followup exam two days later, Loya alleges, he was sent to the hospital for treatment and diagnosed with a ruptured appendix and a suspected abdominal abscess. He experienced complications after surgery.

“If Richard Loya’s condition had been timely identified and treated within the standard of care, (he) would have effectively been treated, and would have not been required to have an emergency surgery, prolonged hospitalization, unnecessary physical pain and mental anguish, scaring (sic) as well as other damages,” the complaint concludes.

In addition to medical negligence, Loya and Knott both claim the defendants’ “indifference to serious medical needs” amounted to a violation of state and federal constitutional provisions.

An attorney for Wexford, Gina Marie Smith of Meyers, Rodbell & Rosenbaum P.A. in Riverdale Park, declined to comment on the litigation but said the defendants “vigorously dispute the merits of the allegations in both lawsuits.”

The cases are Cornelius Knott v. Wexford Health Sources Inc. et al., 8:19-cv-01647, and Richard Loya v. Wexford Health Sources Inc. et al., 8:19-cv-01646.

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