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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Inmate’s lawsuit says he was denied proper medical care

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 27, 2017

Associated Press

BOISE – An Idaho inmate has filed a lawsuit against the state’s prison health care contractor contending he was denied adequate medical care.

Gary L. Merchant says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday it wasn’t until he intentionally swallowed a razor blade that he was finally sent to a hospital where he was treated for a flesh-eating infection in his leg, the Idaho Statesman reported.

The leg had to be amputated.

“It is egregious,” said Merchant’s attorney, Jason Monteleone.

The initial medical opinion shows “not just reckless behavior, but deliberate indifference,” according to Monteleone.

Merchant seeks a jury trial against Corizon Health, Idaho’s prison health contractor, and the Idaho Department of Correction.

Spokespeople for the organizations declined to comment on the lawsuit and on Merchant’s treatment in prison and the hospital on Tuesday.

Merchant was sentenced to prison for driving under the influence.

He was suffering from Crohn’s disease prior to the infection, for which the prison’s staff failed to give him proper care, according to the lawsuit.

It also claims that when Merchant developed a severe infection in his left leg in January 2016, the prison misdiagnosed it, leading Merchant to swallow a small pencil-sharpener blade in order to “force” Corizon to take him to St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center.

In addition to the leg amputation, the untreated infected also caused a stroke, “uncontrollable” pain in his leg, encephalopathy, lung and kidney failure and other medical problems, Merchant said in the lawsuit.

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