The family of a woman who died in November while incarcerated at the Faulkner County Detention Center has since filed a wrongful death suit against the sheriff's office and other county officials.
Linda S. Warner, 59, of Greenbrier was arrested on Oct. 30, 2017, on suspicion of violating a no contact order and was pronounced dead at Baptist Health Medical Center in Conway on Nov. 23, 2017.
Her family says she "suffered severe bodily harm that resulted in her death" while incarcerated in the county jail, noting "she endured unnecessary pain, suffering and mental anguish" during her incarceration.
Baptist Health medical staff diagnosed Warner with severe sepsis with septic shock, diabetic ketoacidosis, upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage, acute kidney failure and rhabdomyolysis, noting her blood sugar "was greater than 600" when she was admitted into the emergency room shortly before midnight Nov. 22.
Online records show an autopsy later found "Warner died of Sepsis due to Purulent Peritonitis due to Ruptured Appendicitis" and that she also "had purulent adhesions and purulent yellow fluid in all quadrants of her abdomen," according to the complaint filed by attorney Jessica Virden-Mallett, who represents Warner's family in this suit.
Warner's daughter, Christine Turner, is seeking justice on her behalf, noting she believes Warner wrongfully died due to neglect during her incarceration.
A lengthy, detailed account of the actions leading up to Warner's death is included in the complaint filed in early June in Faulkner County Circuit Court.
The timeline laid out by Virden-Mallett on Warner's family's behalf begins Oct. 30, 2017, the day Warner was arrested on suspicion of violating a no contact order, a Class A misdemeanor. Warner had diabetes and other health conditions that required regular medications that she allegedly did not receive during her incarceration in the county jail. The complaint points out that Warner had previously been jailed at the FCDC and that jail staff was made aware of her medical records and provided with a list of her required medications.
"Upon Ms. Warner's intake on October 30, 2017, a medical screening was performed by Correctional Officer Ellis," the complaint reads in part as the timeline begins. "It was reviewed the next day by Defendant Leanne Dixxon, Medical Assistant. Defendant Dixxon signed the space for a nurse's signature even though she is not a licensed nurse. Most of the intake is inaccurate and contrary to the medical information already on file for Ms. Warner."
According to the complaint, jail staff ruled on Nov. 2 to discontinue testing Warner's blood sugar despite Warner having Type II Diabetes Mellitus and being insulin dependent.
On Nov. 5, a request for an in-house doctor visit was made by Warner, who was reportedly suffering from "tummy problems" and urinary incontinence, according to online records.
The plaintiff's argue Warner was neglected, because jail staff reportedly denied this request.
Warner's conditions became increasingly more serious after she was again denied assistance on Nov. 8.
The complaint log filed by Virden-Mallett states Warner began having difficulty walking by Nov. 14.
"On November 14, 2017, Ms. Warner was having trouble walking and was in distress," the complaint reads in part. "Defendant Michelle Maher knew about Ms. Warner's urinary problems and noted she was having problems walking. Defendant Maher forced Ms. Warner to walk back to her bunk with no assistance and did not offer or seek medical attention for Ms. Warner."
The next day, Warner reportedly was forced to lay in her urine long enough to develop a rash on her groin and buttocks and was prescribed a cream and allowed four pairs of disposable underwear by Nurse Karen Grant.
According to the complaint, no one at the jail checked Warner's blood sugar levels until Nov. 16. Even after her glucose level was tested Nov. 16, jail staff failed to provide Warner with insulin, Virden-Mallett stated in the complaint.
A 9 a.m. Nov. 18 log of one of Warner's blood sugar readings was labeled "Hi," which is "generally indicative of a blood sugar level over 600," according to the complaint. Along with not getting insulin following this reading, plaintiffs allege Warner was neglected because jail staff "took her vitals and noted she had a tachycardic heart rate" and "took Ms. Warner back to her bunk without addressing her extremely high glucose level or her tachycardia."
Later that day, Warner's blood sugar was reportedly logged at 523.
The timeline includes an incident where Warner also reportedly was neglected when she fell in the shower.
"On November 20, 2017, Ms. Warner was so weak she fell in the shower and could not get back up," the complain states. "Defendant Marissa Parks and Defendant Anna Pope attempted to make Ms. Warner get up out of the floor. Defendant Bobbie Spivey then came in the showers and instructed Defendants Parks and Pope not to 'help' Ms. Warner anymore. No medical treatment or assessment was sought."
Virden-Mallett also addressed an alleged incident where Dr. Gary Stewart denied helping Warner because she would not answer his questions. He reportedly asked if she could speak English and accused Warner of refusing treatment. Virden-Mallett noted other jail staff knew Warner was having difficulty standing and walking on her own and that she was in a great deal of pain.
"After Ms. Warner was forced to leave sick call, she collapsed in the hallway," the complaint reads. "Her condition was relayed to Dr. Stewart and Nurse Munyan, who ignored the distress Ms. Warner was in."
At this point, the timeline graphically describes jailers being instructed to drag Warner out of the hallway following failed attempts to revive her with an ammonia capsule.
As she laid in the floor, FCDC staff checked her vital signs and her glucose level, which was 502 and Stewart reportedly administered 12 units of insulin on Warner. After receiving the insulin, Warner was reportedly left "sweating and unresponsive" in the hallway.
Jailers were instructed to drag Warner out of the hallway, and, according to the complaint, were specifically ordered not to use a wheelchair to move Warner from one room to the next.
"Defendant Spivey told the other defendants it was against the rules to use a wheelchair or mat to move Ms. Warner. The Defendants then dragged an unconscious Ms. Warner back to her cell," the complaint states. "During the shift change, Defendant Lisembey-Hall asked Defendant Teniesha Jernigan to go with him to check on Ms. Warner. When they got back to Ms. Warner's cell, they found Ms. Warner on the floor an unresponsive."
Jail staff is accused of yelling at Warner to pick herself up and get back on her bunk. According to the complaint filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court, when she failed to do so, one of the jailers attempted to pepper spray Warner, but "the canister malfunctioned and pepper spray dribbled on her face."
On Nov. 22, Warner was reportedly found "unconscious, laying in her own feces and urine, struggling to breath."
Jail staff learned Warner's heart rate was 136 and that her oxygen saturation was at 75-78 percent. However, the FCDC doctor was not immediately alerted of the incident. Instead, the complaint alleges staff members opted to text Dr. Stewart and did not call 911.
Eventually, paramedics were called to the scene. When they arrived at the jail, Warner was in cardiac arrest.
"When the ambulance arrived, Ms. Warner was in cardiac arrest," the complaint reads in part. "Emergency personnel were able to get Ms. Warner's pulse back. When they checked her blood glucose level, it was greater than 600."
The family is requesting a jury trial be held regarding the wrongful death and negligence claims made against the sheriff's office.
No hearings had been formally scheduled regarding this matter by press time Saturday.
The Log Cabin Democrat will follow up with detention center policies regarding the claims made against the facility and also continue following this case throughout the proceedings held in Faulkner County Circuit Court.