Former Inmate Sues York Correctional Institution for Women for Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted in Medical Malpractice, Negligence at 3:20 pm by kevin

Amy Rolon, who served time in prison for charges of 6th-degree larceny, has filed a $7.5-million claim for medical neglect against the Department of Correction (DOC) due to a traumatic brain injury she sustained while under the custody of York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Connecticut in 2014.

According to incident reports, Rolon repeatedly fell and hit her head during her struggles against heroin withdrawal, which lasted for about 2 days. In a very compelling surveillance video reviewed by supervisor Christopher Brunelle, Rolon is seen falling out of her wheelchair while staff members are just walking by and ignoring to provide assistance. Brunelle writes in his report:

“Inmate crawls out of cell on hands and knees as staff are walking towards her … [Two correction officers] walk past the inmate. Both officers staring at the inmate as they walk past and exit the unit …

“Inmate attempts to get into wheelchair by herself. Staff do not assist.

“Inmate falls out of wheelchair and onto the floor … (E)veryone watches. No staff attempt to help her up.”

Also, those who shared the cell with Rolon from October 30 to 31, 2014 reported to had repeatedly called for medical attention, as they watched Rolon stagger in and out of the bathroom, and then fall and sprawl on the floor. Though she then received methadone and other medications several times from nurses, it was not until the morning of November 1 that she received sustained medical attention after experiencing a violent seizure, with her mouth filling with blood from biting her own tongue. Also, all of these things occurred despite a court order stating that Rolon required detoxification and immediate medical attention upon being admitted to the correctional facility on October 30, 2014.

It took several hours until a psychologist recommended for Rolon to be checked at a hospital, and by the time she was sent to the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital emergency room in New London, she was already found to be in critical condition. She was then transferred to the Yale-New Haven Hospital ICU, where she received surgery for swelling and bleeding of the brain.

As a result of this incident, four officers at the correctional facility have been suspended and two nurses who worked for the Correctional Managed Health Care unit at UConn Health resigned, according to the correctional facility’s officials. Such a medical unit is aid to be holding a controversial, no-bid contract (worth more than $80 million a year) with the DOC to deliver mental and medical services to inmates.

According to Scott Semple, the Correction Commissioner, there was truly a violation to the protocol in the Rolon case, viewing it as a situation that is isolated to the staff members who are being suspended. After learning about how serious Rolon’s injuries were, York supervisors ordered an investigation at the scene where the incident happened, calling on state police investigators to document the chain of events.

Rolon, who is now a 38-year-old mother of five children, is partially paralyzed and is severely cognitively impaired. Needing constant care, she is residing at the Grandview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.