Man alleges he was denied medical attention as a pretrial detainee

By John Severance | Apr 17, 2017

CHARLESTON – A Raleigh County man filed suit in Kanawha Circuit Court against a variety of defendants, alleging four counts of negligence and two counts of outrage at a correctional officers and medical providers.

In his suit, Philip J. Tomashek II also is alleging he was denied medical attention while he was a pretrial detainee and he also is alleging that his 14th Amendment rights were violated by medical providers. 

The suit was filed March 22 by the plaintiff’s attorneys – the Masters Law Firm of Charleston.

Listed as defendants were the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Jail and Correctional Authority; David Farmer, the executive director of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Jail and Correctional Authority; the Southern Regional Jail; Michael Francis, the administrator of the jail; John Doe correctional officers; PrimeCare Medical of West Virginia; Carl Hoffman Jr., the corporate medical director; and John Doe medical providers.

According to the complaint, Tomashek’s wife called the Raleigh County 911 in November 2014 and spoke with a dispatcher. She requested an ambulance for her husband because she thought her vehicle was stuck in the driveway. She told the dispatcher that her husband was exhibiting behavioral and mood changes. She told the dispatcher that he may have suffered a head injury or suffered from inadvertent poisoning from use of paint and cleaners in the garage.

After getting off the phone with dispatch, she went out to her vehicle and was able to drive it. She called back dispatch to cancel the ambulance and told them that she would take her husband to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Raleigh County sheriff’s department had been dispatched to the scene.

Tomashek’s wife explained to the officers what happened, saying her husband had suffered a head injury or been poisoned.

According to the suit, "the officers engaged in violent physical altercation with plaintiff which included the use of pepper spray and a taser and arrested him.’’

Tomashek was taken to the regional jail and "was put in custody despite being in clear need of medical attention," according to the suit.

The suit said the plaintiff made multiple requests for medical help and the plaintiff’s wife called the jail on numerous occasions to ask for medical help for husband. "At no time plaintiff was given a thorough medical examination or given medical care," the suit said.

According to the suit, Tomashek was taken to Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital 36 hours after he was taken into custody. The suit said that Tomashek was rated as a high-risk situation in triage. He was diagnosed with encephalopathy, acute liver injury and acute rhabdomyolysis. Tomashek was transported to ICU for three days and then transferred to the general ward of the hospital for another seven days.

The suit claims that the delay in the medical diagnosis resulted in an increase in the severity of Tomashek’s condition and it impaired his ability to fully recover.

Tomashek claims in the suit that he suffers from residual health medical issues including spinal pain and partial dysfunction, weakness in his arms, pain and partial dysfunction in fingers, memory loss, reduced kidney and liver function as well as continued mental trauma.

In the suit’s paperwork, Tomashek is demanding a trial by jury and requesting compensatory damages for past, present and future medical expenses, past present and future pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, psychological and emotional distress, punitive damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 17-C-395

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