A former jailbird is suing prison officials after claiming that his leg had to be amputated when doctors refused to treat an ulcer on his heel.
One-time inmate Clayton McCray, 27, says the medics not only refused to treat him but they confiscated his wheelchair too, worsening the condition.
It was only when his foot was seen to be rotting and infected that his right leg was amputated below the knee.
Now McCray has filed a lawsuit against the Allegheny County Jail’s (ACJ) Medical Director, the jail’s medical staff, and its former Deputy Warden.
He claims he was denied standard medical care, medical devices and treatment for months, resulting in him having to have his leg cut off.
McCray claims that doctors and staff at the Pennsylvania jail – where he was in pre-trial detention on a probation violation between 2019 and 2020 – withheld treatment and medication.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on 24th March 2022.
One of his lawyers, Jaclyn Kurin, at the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC), reportedly said that the lawsuit represents the tip of the iceberg and that problems at the jail are widespread.
She also said: “They knew that they weren’t providing this care and even worse, they knew the harm it was going to cause to Mr McCray.”
McCray was reportedly shot in the spine in 2011, causing his foot to drag when he walked because he had lost all feeling in it.
An ulcer eventually formed on his heel, with the lawsuit alleging that the prison and the medical officers there did not treat his wound properly.
Kurin added that the jail and the medical officials failed to provide her client with a handicap-accessible cell and took away his special orthopaedic shoes, as well as his cane, his wheelchair, and his crutches.
The staff allegedly made McCray put weight on his bad leg, with the lawsuit also alleging that a doctor at the county’s General Hospital told medical officers at the prison in June 2020 that the antibiotics they were giving him were inadequate and instructed them to give him a full course of antibiotics instead of just one every few days.
The complaint alleges that McCray was left in agony and it was only much later that an assistant medical officer at the jail noticed that his skin had turned dark black and green and smelled bad.
In July 2020, a culture taken from his leg allegedly showed that he was septic and was suffering from a strep infection.
His leg was amputated in hospital on 10th September 2020.
A few days later, he was taken back to jail until October.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour drug charge and was given six months of probation for being released from custody.
Kurin claims: “He was in so much pain that he couldn’t retrieve meals, he couldn’t get recreation. He couldn’t shower.”
The lawsuit seeks compensation for the injuries, including the loss of McCray’s lower right leg, for the pain that he suffered, including distress and mental anguish, and compensation for his future medical costs.
Kurin also said that McCray has previously spent time in prison in the counties of Fayette and Mercer and that he was provided care and treatment while incarcerated there.
A fundraiser has been started on GoFundMe (www.gofundme.com/f/claytons-med-fund-2022) to help pay for his medication. At the time of writing, it had raised over USD 1,300 out of a USD-5,000 goal.
The GoFundMe summary states: “All donations crowdfunded through this GoFundMe will go directly to Clayton McCray so he can pay his hospital bills and other medical expenses while working to hold ACJ accountable.”