AUBURN — An Androscoggin County Jail inmate is suing the county sheriff and the jail's medical contractor, claiming medical malpractice, among other charges.
Daniel A. Ouellette, 48, filed a rambling, handwritten civil lawsuit in Androscoggin County Superior Court earlier this week. It stems from complaints that he was denied medications for chronic pain and anxiety. He also complained he was refused hepatitis C treatment and monitoring.
His local primary care doctor had ordered blood tests and referred him to a specialist for further treatment and analysis, but he has been neither tested nor referred during his three-month incarceration, he wrote in his complaint.
Ouellette has been charged with several counts of felony burglary and theft as well as numerous misdemeanors in Androscoggin and Oxford counties, and is awaiting trial.
In his lawsuit, Ouellette accused Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins, Androscoggin County Jail Administrator John Lebel and Corizon and CorrectRX, a company the county and Maine Department of Corrections contracts to provide medical services for inmates.
Ouellette wrote that the defendants are responsible for "deliberate indifference and intentional infliction of mental-emotional distress."
His complaint said he suffers from chronic pain in his knees, lower back and right hand, and he has a clinical diagnosis of mood disorder, anxiety, depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which he's been on medications since 2006.
When he arrived at the jail in May, a mental health worker for Corizon evaluated Ouellette and told him to sign a release of medical records after asking whether he had any sexually transmitted diseases, Ouellette said. He refused to sign, he said, then filed a complaint.
A mental health nurse practitioner assessed Ouellette and prescribed medications. A month later, she adjusted his medications, he said.
"These worked well and were effective," he wrote in his complaint.
But that nurse practitioner quit. Her replacement discontinued the pain and anti-anxiety medications, he said in his complaint. No additional assessment or review had taken place, he said. She told him she wouldn't have prescribed those medications because they aren't covered by CorrectRX, which is part of Corizon, he said.
"The message was clear," he wrote. "Corizon does not provide individual care for individual needs. My case manager . . . was told I had been assessed when I had not."
"I feel trapped," he wrote.
He said his ability to function had been "compromised as anxiety prevents sleep and I am in constant pain" which, he wrote, was "intentionally inflicted in retaliation for complaints."
He asked that the court order a review, including medication management, of Corizon's services by an "outside source," claiming Corizon's practices contradict those of area medical providers.
Ouellette is seeking class-action status that would represent "all pretrial detainees, past, present and future who have been classified as medium security and subjected to conditions of overcrowding, double-bunking coupled with long periods of isolation, deprivation — between 19-20 hours daily — and subjected to these conditions not present in minimum security."
Ouellette, who is representing himself and is indigent, asked that his filing fee and any mediation fee be waived, along with any jury fee. An Androscoggin County judge granted his request.
Sheriff Desjardins said he does not comment on pending litigation.