LIMA — A lawsuit filed Monday in federal court against Allen County, former sheriff Sam Crish and several officers and personnel in the Allen County Sheriff’s Office alleges that the department did not do enough to prevent a former Allen County Jail inmate from contracting an infection requiring months of treatment.
In the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by the Southfield, Michigan-based law firm Excolo Law, attorneys Solomon Radner and Ari Kresch said Ernest Kaylor, incarcerated in May 2015, contracted methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, a highly resistant and contagious form of staph infection, during his time at the jail.
The lawsuit asserts that the Sheriff’s Office did not implement proper procedures to prevent the spread of the bacteria, allowing infected inmates to shower in common areas without effective sanitation, failing to properly sanitize bedding and clothing, and allowing infected inmates to mingle with noninfected ones.
“Based upon the information available to us at this time, MRSA was quite common in the jail and little was done to prevent its spreading,” Radner said.
According to the lawsuit, Kaylor noticed a pimple-like sore on his thigh on Aug. 20, nearly three months into his incarceration. After notifying guards of his condition the next day, Kaylor was refused treatment, according to the lawsuit, with Officer Michael Knotts and Cpl. Chad Lauck telling him that jail physician Dr. John Biery was unavailable, going on to say that he probably had an insect bite.
On Aug. 25, Kaylor received a dose of the antibiotic Keflex, prescribed by Biery. However, Kaylor’s condition continued to deteriorate, according to the lawsuit, with increased pain and swelling around the abscess. By Aug. 27, according to the complaint, Kaylor was experiencing sweats, chills and nausea, with the abscess becoming more inflamed and the surrounding skin becoming hot to the touch. He was then taken to Lima Memorial Health System, where he had a 16-centimeter abscess, which was then drained of fluid.
Even after being placed on house arrest, Kaylor still required treatment until mid-October, leaving him with a 16-centimeter scar on the incision site.
Allen County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Andre McConnahea said the department would not comment on pending litigation, also saying that the department had not received official notice of the lawsuit as of Monday afternoon.