Even The Incarcerated Have Rights: Inmate Wins $1 Million For Medical Malpractice

One Virginia inmate is a little happier today, having won a massive medical malpractice lawsuit after accusing the prison’s medical personnel of providing him with improper care after he broke his finger. The records of a million-dollar payout were found via the U.S. District Court system. John Kinlaw, a 32-year-old who was serving time in a Virginia prison, won the cash settlement after finding legal help.

When asked about the experience, he said, “There should be no difference in the standard of treatment between an inmate and a regular person. The people that mistreated me were going to be held responsible.”

And therein lies the problem for many victims of medical malpractice — not only do they have to prove that they were somehow hurt by the care they received, but also that the care received was somehow different from the standard of care expected anywhere else. 

According to Kinlaw, he still feels the consequences of the improperly delivered care.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017 against Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. as soon as Kinlaw was released from the Lunenburg Correctional Center. He accused prison staff of knowing that he had fractured his finger because of X-rays that had been taken. Normally the kind of break he suffered would require surgery. Instead, medical personnel at the correction center gave him a dose of Motrin and an ice pack to numb the area. 

He complained about the injury for weeks afterward, but they ignored him completely. In addition to Armor Correctional Health Services, Kinlaw named a Nurse Banks, Nurse Price, and Nurse Nwaokocha because they routinely denied new treatment.

It was over three months before the medical staff agreed to allow him to see a specialist. His theory that the fractured bone was healing improperly was confirmed.

Nexus Services Inc. is an organization that helps provide the basis for medical malpractice incurred during time spent in a correctional facility

Nexus CEO said, “What we do is we take cases involving complaints about government agencies, police, prisons, and jails, and evaluate them and refer them to a law firm to prosecute them, so we’ve been working with John…It’s very clear that they just didn’t want to spend money and perhaps that’s the ultimate irony because now they are going to have to pay over a million dollars to Mr. Kinlaw.”

Kinlaw’s settlement included $700,000 in damages and more than $300,000 in punitive damages (those that are meant to punish a person or organization for gross negligence).