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Lawsuit filed over Saratoga County jail death

Lawsuit filed over Saratoga County jail death

Man not given proper medications, it says
Lawsuit filed over Saratoga County jail death
Photographer: Shutterstock

ALBANY — The estate of a man who died of a heart attack in Saratoga County jail last year is suing the county, alleging the man was not given his heart medication by jail staff.

Richard Jordan's estate is seeking unspecified damages from the county. 

The suit, filed earlier this month in federal court, cites an account from a fellow inmate that Jordan complained almost daily during his month of incarceration that he did not receive his appropriate medication and complained of chest pain, anxiety and foot pain. The inmate also said Jordan notified jail medical staff of his issues repeatedly, according to the lawsuit.

Jordan, 52, previously underwent double-bypass heart surgery and had problems with blood clots that once required hospitalization, the lawsuit reads. He was prescribed blood thinners, blood pressure medication and other drugs to survive.

"While (Jordan) was obviously not the healthiest person, he had been successfully managing his medical conditions for several years. It was not until the defendants denied him his medication for several weeks" and failed to send him to a doctor that Jordan died, the lawsuit states.

The Saratoga Springs man collapsed and died as he walked down a corridor near the jail's kitchen area on Sept. 15, 2016, sheriff's officials said. He was serving a 90-day sentence for a petit larceny conviction.

The jail notified the state Commission on Corrections immediately of the death, officials said. The lawsuit does not reference results of the commission's review.

The claim cites as defendants Saratoga County and multiple as-yet-unidentified jail employees.

Saratoga County Attorney Stephen Dorsey said this week the county received a notice of claim on the case but had yet to be served with a lawsuit. 

Told of the lawsuit, Dorsey noted the heart attack finding.

"The county has absolutely no liability in this case," he said.

Attorney E. Robert Keach is representing the Jordan estate. He could not be reached for comment Thursday. The administrator of Jordan's estate is identified as Germaine Heitmann.

The lawsuit claims deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, violation of rights through policies or failure to implement policies or training, along with conscious pain and suffering.

Specifically, it alleges a pattern of providing inadequate medical care, that decisions about Jordan's care were made without consultation of a cardiac specialist and that the jail routinely allowed nurses to make medical decisions about what conditions could wait for a doctor or what conditions constituted emergencies, the suit states.

"Regardless of this pattern of misconduct, Richard Jordan would be alive had he received adequate medical treatment," the suit states.

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