A federal lawsuit has been filed against Adams County and a contract medical business accusing jailers and nurses of failing to provide intravenous fluids to save the life of a jail inmate suffering dehydration and other symptoms of opiate and benzodiazepine withdrawal.
The civil lawsuit filed by Denver attorneys David Lane, Darold Killmer and Andy McNulty on behalf of the estate of Tyler Tabor names Adams County, Corizon Health, Inc., Sheriff Michael McIntosh and eight jail deputies and health workers as defendants.
The plaintiffs, who include Tabor’s parents, Ray Tabor and Michelle McLean; Tabor’s wife, Bridget Tabor; and Tabor’s 6-year-old son, D.T.; seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
Cmdr. Susan Nielsen of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said there will be no comment from the office about the pending litigation. Martha Harbin, spokeswoman for Corizon, which is based in Brentwood, Tenn., said a media response will be released later.
While Tyler Tabor was being booked into the Adams County Detention Facility on two misdemeanor arrest warrants May 14, 2015, he told a nurse that he was addicted to opiates and had used them the day before and was taking prescribed medicine Xanax, a benzodiazepine. His withdrawal symptoms began immediately, the lawsuit says.
“As Tyler’s condition progressed from bad to worse, Corizon medical staff watched and Adams County officials stood by, content to watch Tyler suffer,” the lawsuit says.
Tabor was suffering symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. He was restless, agitated and anxious, the lawsuit says. He had violent muscle spasms while seeing a nurse. He was given Gatorade as treatment, the lawsuit says.
“Ultimately, Tyler begged for an IV. A Corizon nurse told him that IVs were only given when it was ‘absolutely necessary,'” the lawsuit says.
A deputy found him lying on his cell floor at 5:25 a.m., after Tabor had vomited on the floor. He had a gray color to him and was struggling to breathe, the lawsuit says. The deputy kicked him a few times, the lawsuit says. Tabor only moaned, it says. Other deputies and supervisors were called. They shined a flashlight into his eyes, but Tabor didn’t respond. It took another 19 minutes before a nurse used a defibrillator on him.
Tabor was pronounced dead at 6 a.m., on May 17, 2015, less than six hours after begging for the IV, the lawsuit says. He never saw a doctor once before he died, nor did he receive his prescribed Xanax or treatment to combat withdrawal from benzodiazepines, the lawsuit says.
“Tyler’s death was easily and completely preventable,” the suit says. “The actions of the Corizon nurses and doctor in the death of Tyler should be unsurprising by now. Deliberate indifference in the face of serious medical conditions is company policy at Corizon, where profits take precedence over basic medical care.”
The lawsuit says that Tabor’s parents could have easily paid his $300 bond but they believed the jail was a safe place for their son to kick his opiate addiction, the lawsuit says.
Tabor, a welder, was arrested in Larimer County on warrants for failure to comply with probation conditions in a harassment complaint and a separate driving under restraint charge.