Family sues county for inmate death - Government - Odessa

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Family sues county for inmate death

Lawsuit alleges wrongful death and poor care


The family of a 45-year-old woman who died as an inmate in the Ector County Detention Center has sued Ector County and Sheriff Mark Donaldson.

Guadalupe Dominguez Leyva was arrested in December 2009 and charged with assaulting a peace officer.

A year and a half later, Leyva was transported to Medical Center Hospital for an unknown medical problem, and was pronounced dead within 24 hours.

According to the federal lawsuit, Leyva went through a court-ordered psychological evaluation in October 2010, at which point the psychologist Jarvis Wright concluded Leyva did not have the mental ability to consult with her attorney and did not have an understanding of the charges against her.

Wright also diagnosed her with schizoaffective disorder and other “severe mental disorders,” functioning at a level of 35 on a scale of 10 to 100.

According to the National Library of Medicine’s website, schizoaffective disorder is a medical condition that causes a loss of contact with reality and mood problems and symptoms include social isolation, delusions and hallucinations.

But after her diagnosis, the lawsuit — which was filed by her husband and daughter — claims that the county didn’t take the proper steps to care for her and her mental illness.

“Beginning approximately six months prior to her death, Guadalupe complained incessantly to her daughter that she was experiencing constant stomach pain and that she was not receiving medications for her mental illness,” according to the lawsuit. “She also complained (to her daughter) and jailers that she was unable to eat the food provided to her because it made her sick.”

According to the lawsuit, Leyva’s daughter contacted the Ector County Detention Center about 20 times to complain about her health.

Five days before her death, the lawsuit stated that Leyva told her daughter she was unable to use the restroom for about a week and that jailers were not responding to her please of help.

According to the lawsuit, the autopsy report revealed Leyva’s cause of death was complications of megacolon.

The lawsuit accused Ector County and Donaldson of violating several of Leyva’s Constitutional rights “by failing to provide proper medical treatment, by failing to protect her and by demonstrating indifference to her medical needs.”

It is also filed under the Wrongful Death Act and the family is seeking an unspecified amount of money.

A woman who answered the phone at the Ector County Sheriff’s Office said Donaldson was not in town when contacted for comment.

Contact Jon Vanderlaan on twitter at @OAcourts, on Facebook at OA Jon Vanderlaan or call 432-333-7763.