Emre Umar, president of Correctional Medical Care, is questioned on the death of Mark Cannon during a deposition on July 15, 2016.

Suit seeks damages for man’s death in jail

A lawsuit filed in federal court claims a medical care contractor at the Schenectady County jail and the county sheriff, among others, are liable in the 2015 death of inmate Terrance Duncan.

Monique McNeil, the former girlfriend of Duncan, mother of two of his five children, and administrator of his estate, brought the suit, filed Tuesday in Northern District federal court in Albany.

After conducting an investigation into the death, the state Commission on Correction issued a “harshly critical” report about the medical care provided Duncan. The parts that are not redacted “detail a shocking level of disregard for Mr. Duncan’s obvious medical emergency,” write McNeil’s attorneys.

Duncan, 34, was being held at the jail in August 2015 when he died from a heart attack associated with symptoms of an enlarged heart and sickle cell anemia.

The commission said Correctional Medical Care’s staff at the jail failed to recognize Duncan’s life-threatening illness and neglected to have him promptly transferred to a hospital

Duncan’s death may not have been preventable, the report said, but a state medical review board concluded “the lack of adequate response … was a contributory factor as Duncan’s chances of survival would have been substantially improved had he been immediately removed to a hospital.”

The suit says a “deliberate indifference” by jail staff to Duncan’s medical needs violated his constitutional rights, as did the failure to implement policies that would have prevented it. McNeil¬† is seeking damages for Duncan’s death, as well as punitive damages.

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