Noblesville family sues prison system, blames ex-con's death on withheld blood test results

Lawsuit: 'Scott Turner did not need to die'

NOBLESVILLE - The Noblesville family of a 26-year-old ex-con has filed a lawsuit, claiming the state prison system withheld blood test results that could have saved his life.

“Scott Turner did not need to die,” his lawyer wrote in the family’s lawsuit, filed in Hamilton County Superior Court.

The case was moved to United States District Court in Indianapolis this week.

Scott Turner served time at the Pendleton Correction Facility about 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis for two separate cocaine dealing convictions, first in 2007 and then in 2009, according to prison records .

In their lawsuit , his mother and three brothers claim that the Indiana Department of Corrections  tested Turner’s blood while he was locked up, but withheld the fact that he tested positive for hepatitis.

The family’s attorney writes in the lawsuit, “Scott was not told that he had tested positive for hepatitis, nor was he treated for hepatitis.  Throughout 2010 and 2011, though, Scott showed signs of hepatitis while in prison.”

Prison records show he was released from prison in August 2011 to care for his cancer-stricken mother, and he was diagnosed with hepatitis after his own health deteriorated.

He died on Jan. 19, 2012 at the age of 26.

The family fought for the release of Turner’s medical files from the prison system, and they claim in their lawsuit that they discovered in the spring of 2012 that the prison system had tested his blood and withheld the positive results for the disease.

“Hepatitis need not be a fatal condition. Had he received reasonable medical care in prison he would be alive today,” wrote the family’s attorney, Matthew Cook, who declined to comment further about the lawsuit.

Indiana Department of Corrections spokesman Doug Garrison said he could not comment about specifics of the case since a lawsuit was pending.

When asked about the prison system’s policy for disclosing medical conditions to inmates, Garrison said, “All offenders are properly medically treated and informed of any conditions that they have.

“It’s no different than being on the outside.  If you have a medical condition and we know about it, we’ll treat it,” he said.

He said the cost of treatment does not factor into treatment decisions for inmate and he denied that inmates are intentionally kept in the dark about medical ailments.

“All offenders with medical conditions are advised of their conditions and treated appropriately,” said Garrison.

No hearing dates have been scheduled now that the lawsuit has landed in federal court. The family did not request a specific dollar amount in the lawsuit, which claims Turner was denied his constitutional rights while in prison.


Follow Stephen Dean on Twitter: @deantvnews

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