Inmate sues Androscoggin County over meds

AUBURN — An Androscoggin County Jail inmate is suing the county sheriff and the jail's medical contractor, claiming medical malpractice, among other charges.

Daniel Ouellette
submitted photo

Daniel Ouellette

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.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Will, just something I've found over time....

If a person really needs these medications, they don't get the buz, or high that abusers do. I've been joking with my doctor for years about this. I keep asking him, if I have to take these meds anyway, why can't I enjoy them? His answer, to bad you really need them......

I understand, however paired

I understand, however paired with his less than spotless record I was profiling. For people that really do need the meds I completely understand but sadly many people in this state have lost themselves in a pill bottle.

Sad

First thing that came to my mind upon reading this was drug addict...... Maybe not but pain and anxiety are both treated with narcotics in many cases.

 's picture

Here's a novel idea

HMMMM.. perhaps if he is so concerned about managing his health care, he shouldn't have committed the acts that placed him in the county jail... oh wait, jail medical care doesn't cost him anything.. my bad.. that just might be the reason he did those things.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I've got to ask this......

As a person who suffers from chronic pain in both legs. I have trouble getting into and out of my apartment, and I have a key. I spend all week getting myself ready to take out the trash on Mondays. Anything more than that I either have to call someone or hire someone.
I'm not doubting this guy, but, how the hell does he rack up such a great Burglary record with his chronic pain? Being Irish, with my luck, I would break into an apartment , and the owner would come home to find me stretched out on the couch taking a break.........

ERNEST LABBE's picture

He will probably drop the

suit as soon as he gets a jaccuzi, new king size bed, his own cell, and a 63 inch tv.

 's picture

what part of

what part of breaking the law giveshim the right to sue the sheriff, if he didn't break the law he would not be in this problem bad back and knees from breaking into houses look bud you made your bed now sleep in it plain and simple

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