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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Family of jail inmate gets $250,000

Spokane County has agreed to pay $250,000 to the estate and daughter of an inmate who died after spending a week at Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center without being allowed to take her blood-thinning medicine.

Venus Elder, 39, was booked into the jail Feb. 16, 2004, on charges that included possession of drug paraphernalia. Elder’s daughter, Krystal Elder, brought her blood-thinning medicine, warfarin, to the jail the next day. But Venus Elder was not allowed to take the prescription until Feb. 23, 2004, after she had been transferred to Geiger.

She died March 2, after suffering a stroke.

Krystal Elder said Tuesday that she hopes the lawsuit taught the county a lesson about its medical practices.

“Nothing brings back my mom. Ever,” she said.

Leon Long, who has been the director of Geiger since August, said much of the delay in getting Elder her medication occurred because medical records on file with her doctor used her married name, Venus Rosemeier. That made it difficult for the jail to confirm what medicine she was prescribed to take.

“There were some other procedural issues that I can’t go into, but they have been pretty much resolved,” Long said.

“You can never replace a parent, that’s for sure. I hope they were pleased with the settlement as much as they could be.”

County officials and the estate agreed to the settlement late last month.

Elder’s estate will get $20,000 to pay for leftover medical bills and funeral expenses, said Elder’s attorney, Patrick Fannin. The rest is earmarked for Krystal Elder to be paid over 16 years.