DRAPER, UTAH – August 7, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – The Utah Department of Corrections has fired two employees and disciplined three others in the wake an internal investigation into the death of a 62-year-old inmate who died after he and seven other prisoners missed dialysis treatments due to a scheduling error.
Ramon C. Estrada, 62, died of cardiac arrest likely brought on by renal failure on April 5, 2015, after technicians for South Valley Dialysis failed to show up at the prison between April 3 and April 5. As a result, seven inmates, including Estrada, did not receive dialysis and all of them ended up being hospitalized.
On Thursday, the Department of Corrections fired a physician’s assistant and a supervising nurse for their alleged role in Estrada’s death. A second supervising nurse was demoted, while a registered nurse was suspended for 40 hours. A current Clinical Services Bureau Director was also demoted.
According to Department of Corrections spokesperson Brooke Adams, the Department of Correction’s preliminary internal investigation showed “that the failure to provide Estrada with dialysis at the prison’s on-site clinic could be a contributing factor in his death”. Adams also said each of the employees who were fired or demoted bore “responsibility for the care of the seven dialysis patients.”
Estrada, who was serving a time for a 2010 rape conviction, was scheduled to be released in the spring. His children have filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing state prison officials of negligence and cruel and unusual punishment.
Currently, three other investigations into Estrada’s death are underway. The Utah Department of Health is conducting an external review of the prison’s dialysis center, while Department of Corrections’ Law Enforcement Bureau conducts the internal investigation. An audit of the operation is being conducted by WELLCON, a nationally renowned health care consulting firm.
That final review is expected to be finished within 90 days.