A Kentucky prison inmate died last week at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex. The Department of Corrections claims that Edwin Dishman’s death was the result of suicide by hanging.

When a Kentucky inmate dies by suicide, prison officials may have violated the inmate’s civil rights or acted negligently. The violation may be the result of prison officials’ failure to provide appropriate medical care. To prove a civil rights violation, the inmate or his legal representative must show that prison officials, including medical staff, had actual knowledge of a serious medical need and did not respond reasonably to the risk.

In the mental health care context, a serious medical need is one that has caused significant disruption in an inmate’s everyday life and which prevents his functioning in the general population without disturbing or endangering himself or others.

Common examples of prison officials’ failure to respond reasonably to a medical/mental health care risk include: denial or delay of access to treatment, denial of access to medical personnel qualified to exercise judgment about a particular medical problem, failure to inquire into essential facts that are necessary to make a professional judgment, interference with medical judgment by factors unrelated to prisoners’ medical needs, and failure to carry out medical orders.

To prove that prison officials were negligent, the inmate or his legal representative must show that prison officials, including medical staff, failed to act as a reasonably competent medical provider would do and that failure was a substantial factor in causing injury to the inmate.

If you or a loved one has been denied medical care or mental health care at a Kentucky jail or Kentucky prison, Craig Henry PLC offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and advise you of your legal options.

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