Against the odds, 55-year old Michael Tarver’s case is heading to trial. Tarver’s case is another example of gross negligence leading to cruel and unusual punishment of inmates in Georgia’s prisons and detention centers.
In a state where inmates are chronically neglected and denied medical treatment, courts are full of inmates suing for negligence. Tarver got lucky; his case caught the eye of attorney Mike Brown.
“You don’t see these kinds of cases go forward very often,” Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center and a former attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, commented to the AJC. “(Tarver) has really looked through the eye of the needle.”
Tarver lost his leg as the result of a severe infection that went untreated by prison doctors. He received the cut under a tray cleaning machine, while working in the kitchen at Macon State Prison. Although he was treated for his injury at the Oglethorpe prison infirmary, he never received advanced wound care despite having risk factors making him vulnerable to infection.
According to the AJC:
“Five former healthcare workers from the prison have provided depositions backing up Tarver’s claim that [Dr. Chiquita Fye, Macon State Prison’s long-time medical director] failed to properly treat his wound. One nurse has testified that nothing was done despite the wound emitting a terrible odor. Another has testified that Fye didn’t react when informed that the tissue had turned black.”
Tarver, unfortunately, is only one of many people in recent years who have been denied treatment while in a Georgia detention center.
Last year, another inmate, Randall Davis was denied access to treatment for his severe infection and he ultimately died of liver, renal and respiratory failure as a result of his untreated infection. Like Tarver, Davis showed obvious signs of being in medical distress and asked for medical attention many times.
Just earlier this year, Better Georgia covered the abnormally high rate at which undocumented immigrants are dying in Georgia’s two biggest ICE detention centers. In 2013, there were 169 deaths in Georgia’s prisons and jails. Nationally, illness-related deaths account for 89 percent of all deaths in prisons.
The state of Georgia’s prisons and detention centers is disgusting violation of human rights and the Eighth Amendment, which is supposed to prohibit “cruel and unusual punishment.”