SLO County hit with another jail death lawsuit

May 5, 2018

The family of a 60-year-old man who died in the San Luis Obispo County Jail in April filed a lawsuit Friday against San Luis Obispo County alleging negligence that resulted in death.

Kevin Lee McLaughlin died of a heart attack on April 13, 2017. He had asked to go to the hospital about 45 minutes before he was found dead. His request was denied.

“Kevin’s (McLaughlin) medical problems worsened because defendants failed to provide proper medication and denied timely and professional medical treatment to Kevin, including transfer to a local hospital for more specialized and acute care,” the lawsuit filed by attorney James McKiernan says.

At around 2:30 a.m. on April 13, McLaughlin complained of shoulder pain, including numbness and tingling. “I’m clammy. I need to go to the hospital,” McLaughlin told jail personnel, according to the corner’s report.

McLaughlin also complained that it felt like “an elephant was sitting on his chest.”

Jail personnel sent McLaughlin back to his dorm room with plans to have him see a doctor later that morning, according to county records.

The lawsuit alleges that poorly trained county staffers ignored the signs of a heart attack even though they were aware of McLaughlin’s medical issues.

“Defendants willfully and intentionally ignored Kevin’s well-known heart attack warning signs for unknown reason by, among other things, having jail inmates treated by unqualified and/or ill-trained medical and non-medical personnel, by not providing diagnosis and care from a qualified medical doctor, by having inmates’ prescriptions ratified and rubber stamped after being dispensed to an inmate and by refusing to transfer jail inmates to a local hospital for more specialized and acute treatment when needed – and, in Kevin’s case, in order to prevent a heart attack,” the lawsuit says.

McLaughlin had been in custody since his arrest on Jan. 23 for assault with a deadly weapon, after he pushed a chair across the floor at his mother following the death of his brother. At the time of his death, McLaughlin had already been convicted of the charge. He was scheduled to be sentenced on May 11 and would have received 180 days in jail and probation.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson

After he was jailed, McLaughlin asked for the same medications he took for high blood pressure, depression and pain, according to jail medical records. County doctors prescribed him some of the same medications.

But three days after his arrest, Dr. Kristopher Howalt prescribed McLaughlin 1,200 mg of Ibuprofen a day. On Feb. 14, 2017, Howalt increased McLaughlin’s dose to 1,600 mg a day. At the time of his death, McLaughlin was still taking 1,600 mg of Ibuprofen a day, according to jail records.

In 2005, the FDA issued a warning that Ibuprofen increases the risk of heart attacks and should be used only for short term in small doses for people with heart disease. That warning was strengthened in July 2015 saying that it is best for people with high blood pressure to avoid taking Ibuprofen at all.

McLaughlin was one of three inmates who died in county custody in 2017. The county paid the family of Andrew Holland a $5 million settlement following his death. The family of Russel Hammer filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month.

Following McLaughlin’s death, several critics of Sheriff Ian Parkinson’s management of the jail reported allegations of abuse and neglect to the SLO County Civil Grand Jury. The grand jury has since issued a report blasting the sheriff, as well as the county health director, and stating that a lack of oversight continues to plague the jail.

County officials said they plan to aggressively fight the McLaughlin family lawsuit.

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I would never vote for Parkinson because of all these deaths at the jail. Something is very wrong there.

I would think that lying to cover it up would also be a good reason to vote him out.

It would seem to be such an obvious answer – a person’s actions speak volumes more than their words. Parkinson’s actions (or lack thereof) are known – yet he wants you to believe he has seen the ‘light’ and all will be OK – just believe! And if you have any doubts – just believe what he says – not what his demonstrated actions show.

If you do not want to believe, then vote him OUT! It is as simple as that.

Now that Ian Parkinson is aware of the trouble at the jail, he has taken steps to “fix” the problem. Everything is going to be super-great. Soon.

But, until those reforms can be met the 3 best things we serfs (citizens) of SLO County can do to protect our sheriff, our local government and their loved ones are:

1. Never, ever call the police. If the police aren’t there, they can’t arrest you and take you to the jail.

2. Never, ever cooperate or converse with the police. If you aren’t there, they can’t arrest you and take you to the jail.

3. Do not commit crime of any kind, especially the crime of being mentally ill.

If you don’t ever call the police, don’t ever talk to police and don’t ever give them a reason to arrest you then you can’t die in the jail thus causing embarrassment and excess paperwork for our hardworking, caring, self-sacrificing LEO’s.

Don’t make the cops look bad folks. It’s our fault if they do and they’ll be very upset.

Jorge People Are people dying on unsafe roads? Don’t mean that there are a lot unsafe drivers on the the road? Why don’t we just get all the old blind/senile people off of the road. People go to jail for their dental benefits? Dying in jail is a privilege? Why not just put the old blind/senile people in jail? That way they’ll get their dentures issues. And what’s the difference? They’re old and going to die soon anyway. What’s a few more innocent people dying in jail? Then the road problem will be solved AND there will be more available housing!

Cold, and clammy, feels like an elephant sitting on his chest? Hell, even I can see that’s a heart attack coming on.

And 1,600 mg of Ibuprofen a day? Shit, that’s a hellova lot of any drug. He must have been in some kind of pain!

I hope this doctor’s ass gets fired, he basically poisoned that poor guy.

I see another big settlement on the horizon

Law abiding people are dying on unsafe public roads, should we start filing claims on that too? We spend a lot of tax dollars on inmate meds instead of safe roads for our law abiding people. I say forget the political drama BS and fund public safety first, then jail living or dying conditions second.

Sadly some people go to jail for the dental benefits, health benefits or just to die. Everyone else gets to die without blaming their care givers, dying in jail is a privilege for the eligible and they should not be made a spectacle for this option.

Don’t know the replacement candidates but the SLOco justice system is broken. Deaths in the jail, lying expert witnesses … whole caboodle need to go, and the system needs reform. Taxpayers can’t afford Ian’s and Dan’s mistakes, and at what salaries!!! We got us a case of “Abu Ghraib by the Sea”.

I guess that Ian Parkinson and the County have the same advisers as Ford did when they had those exploding Pintos – it’s cheaper to pay the settlements than to fix the problem.

Parkinson may not be able to cover up the mess at the jail that he, and only he, is 100% responsible for; but he sure is trying. I’m sure you seen the recent “debate” on KSBY; but did you happen to see the huge sack full of lipstick (his vast experience, meetings with state and federal officials, hiring of a new medical person, etc. etc.) he brought along to put on the pig (his complete mishandling of prisoners). The pig had so much lipstick smeared on it, it could barely walk – but it was still a pig.

Jeff Hamm saw what was coming and retired. Ian, people are dying here. Your system is broken. You can’t fix it and you can’t cover over it with political makeup.

I don’t call it a retirement for Hamm, he will be receiving his full salary plus benefits, he just doesn’t have to go into the office anymore. That’s not a retirement to me, not sure what it is except for a theft from the taxpayers.

Whole County upper management compensation system is way too high. Personnel does wage studies selecting other overpaid Counties. I KNOW I get to chose, let’s see Del Norte, Imperial and Madera.