Washington Stroke Victim Sues Over Failure to Treat and Transport

A Washington man who was arrested for shoplifting has filed suit against jail officials as well as the local fire department who he claims failed to provide appropriate treatment and transportation when he suffered a series of strokes associated with atrial fibrillation while in custody. Sean Landry filed suit against the Marysville Fire District, four chief officers, the City of Marysville, and two jail officials.

Landry was arrested December 13, 2018, and taken to the City of Marysville Jail. The following day he began experiencing headaches, nausea and weakness. Jail officials refused to call EMS, but gave him ibuprofen. When the symptoms worsened, he again requested help as he was having trouble seeing. Jailers reportedly were dismissive of his complaints, and he was placed in solitary confinement.

On December 15, 2018, jailers finally summoned the Marysville Fire District to check on Landry. Quoting from the complaint:

  • The Defendant Marysville Fire District EMTs examined Plaintiff Landry.
  • At the end of their approximately fifteen-minute exam the Marysville Fire District EMTs told Landry that he was ok, his physical health was fine, and that he should be sent back to bed in his cell.
  • The Marysville Jail Officers put Plaintiff Landry back in his cell.
  • The next day, on or about December 16, 2018, one of the Defendant Marysville Fire District EMTs returned to the Marysville Jail to perform a follow-up physical exam of Plaintiff Sean Landry.
  • Upon completing this second physical exam the Marysville Fire District EMT instructed the Marysville Jail Officers that Plaintiff Landry was seriously ill, needed medical attention, and that Landry needed to go the hospital to get the medical attention that he needed.
  • The Marysville Jail Officers took Plaintiff Landry out of the Marysville Jail to the parking lot outside where a police car was waiting.
  • A city of Arlington police officer drove Plaintiff Landry to the Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, Washington.
  • When Plaintiff Landry arrived at the Cascade Valley Hospital on December 16, 2018, he was checked into the hospital emergency room (ER) and handcuffed to a hospital bed.
  • Sometime later doctors at the hospital ER told Landry that he had suffered a series of ischemic strokes in the days he was at the Marysville jail.
  • Landry’s doctors further told him that he had experienced an illness called atrial fibrillation.
  • The doctors informed Landry that the strokes occurred because of atrial fibrillation caused blood clots, which traveled from Landry’s heart to his brain, where the clots blocked the blood flow to Landry’s brain, causing the strokes.
  • This illness required immediate medical treatment.
  • It all occurred when Plaintiff Landry was a prisoner in custody at the City of Marysville Jail.
  • Plaintiff Landry reported to the Marysville Jail Officers that he was very seriously ill however no one at the jail helped or responded in time.
  • Landry was admitted to the Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
  • The doctors and staff at the Cascade Valley Hospital did their best to treat Plaintiff Landry’s stroke, however the medical intervention came too late.
  • As a direct result of the lack of medical care and delay in medical care provided to Plaintiff Landry, when he was in custody at the jail, owned and operated by the Defendant City of Marysville, the effects of the ischemic strokes Plaintiff suffered when he was a prisoner at the jail, were substantially worsened.
  • Because of the delay in treating Landry’s strokes, Landry now has a permanent vision loss in his left eye and right eye, brain damage/memory loss, on- going medical care, permanent problems with his balance and gait, and permanently impaired cognitive function.

The federal court suit alleges a violation of Landry’s civil rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment via 42 U.S.C § 1983; and deliberate indifference by the fire district under 42 U.S.C § 1983. Quoting from the complaint:

  • Defendant Marysville Fire District, a local government entity, by and through its Chief policy makers… developed and maintained policies, and/or ratified practices, or customs, exhibiting deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of persons incarcerated in the Marysville City Jail, which caused the violations of Plaintiff Landry’s rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Here is a copy of the complaint

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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