WTVM investigates jail inmates medical treatment process

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Two recent medical-related deaths at the Muscogee County Jail prompted News Leader 9 to investigate. Sheriff John Darr gave our Roslyn Giles the green light to bring a camera inside the clinic for an all access inside look at the medical treatment process for inmates.

Health Services Administrator Paul Morris, an 18-year-nurse veteran, showed us the facility.

"Everyone who is accused of a crime or brought in on a warrant or on a parole violation is brought in the sally port by an officer and they ask, 'are you sick, injured or hurt or is there any reason we need to get a nurse,'" explained Morris.

While inside the intake area, we saw a man in handcuffs coming through the sally port escorted by officers. But another woman already being processed requested to have her blood pressure checked.

"Once Wanda sees if her blood pressure is okay, then we will go ahead and accept her," added Morris.

Her levels were good, and then it was time for a physical. Morris also told us about the procedures inmates follow if there's a medical emergency while in their cell.

"Often times the officers will say the patient says he's at the door and says he is sick and that is all it takes," Morris said. "And the answer to that is bring him to us and if he can't bring him to us, we will take our emergency equipment and go right to him."

The clinic is fully equipped with medical tools to assist in the treatment of various illnesses such as EKG's, Automated External Defibrillators or AED's, oxygen tanks and the staff to go along with it. A medical doctor is on staff and Emergency Medical Technicians are a phone call away.

"The jail population's medical conditions are wide and varied including seizures, heart disease, chronic lung disease and a lot of mental illness," said Morris. "The jail over the past years has become the mental health hospitals."

But once an inmate joins the general or isolated population, there is a process for requesting medical attention. They also have access to a kiosk that allows them to send alerts directly to the nursing staff.

Morris declined to comment about the most recent deaths involving 46-year-old Lori Carroll, who had a punctured lung, broken ribs and what appeared to be self-inflicted facial wounds. The cause of death is still under investigation, according to the coroner.

The family of 21-year-old Maurice Grier, who also died last week from an aneurysm, just days apart from Carroll's death, is also awaiting the toxicology report.

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