The woman pictured above was dragged out of the hospital because she of failing to pay her court fines. Joyce Curnell, 50-year-old, of Edisto Island was found dead in the jail shortly before 5 p.m. July 22, a day after being taken from Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, where she had been treated for a stomach illness. click continue to read more
She spent the last 27 hours of her life behind bars. During that time she became too sick to eat or call for help, according to court documents filed this week. She vomited all night and couldn’t make it to a bathroom, so jailers gave her a trash bag. Some medical staffers ignored the jail officials’ requests to tend to her, the documents alleged.
Curnell’s family filed a notice Wednesday to sue the jail’s medical contractor, Carolina Center for Occupational Health, for malpractice. Unless a settlement is reached, a lawsuit likely will follow. The filing cited expert opinion from a local doctor, who said Curnell’s death “more likely than not” would have been prevented if she had been properly treated for gastroenteritis and dehydration.
The family attorney, James Moore III, said in a statement that her death resulted from a “deliberate failure.” While a suit in state court is planned, Moore said one in federal court could follow.
“Providing access to reasonable medical care to those under police custody is a necessity, not a privilege,” he said. “It is a constitutional right. We are committed to seeking justice for Joyce and for her family.”
Curnell’s death came at a time of increased scrutiny of how black women are handled behind bars. She was one of at least six such women nationwide to die in law enforcement custody that month. They included Sandra Bland, the inmate found hanged in a Texas jail days after a state trooper pulled her from her car during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide, but the trooper was indicted on a perjury charge for his handling of the arrest. According to the post and courier