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Judith Tavarez Accuses Suffolk Jail Of Negligence In Dad's Death

Florida resident Judith Tavarez, the daughter of immigrant detainee Pedro Tavarez, has filed a lawsuit against the Suffolk County House of Correction and its officials, accusing the privately run prison of gross negligence for the death of her father in October 2009.

Judith Taverez claimed the Suffolk jail and its prison officials were recklessly negligent when her father "died from a heart attack caused by a massive sepsis infection that the defendants failed to properly treat."

The lawsuit also alleged medical malpractice and civil rights violations and referred to a federal report filed last year that suggested Suffolk officials waited too long to bring Pedro to the hospital for treatment, according to The Boston Globe.

Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, jail physician Colleen Collins, and Gerard Horgan, the jail superintendent who supervises the infirmary, were named as defendants in Taverez’s suit. Also named was Prison Health Services, a private company based in Tennessee that is also known as PHS Correctional Healthcare and manages the prison.

The suit, which was filed electronically with Boston’s U.S. District Court and seeks an unspecified amount of damages, contended that the failure to immediately take Pedro to the hospital allowed for the infection in his body to spread and caused him to die.

“If our country is going to lock people up just because they want to come live with us, the very least we can do is provide them decent medical care,” said Taverez’s Boston attorney Robert Sinsheimer. “My client lost her dad because our government failed to properly discharge this most basic duty.”

However, Suffolk County sheriff’s general counsel James M. Davin denied the allegations that claimed the Sheriff’s Department was apathetic to the care of Pedro Tavarez, adding that Judith Taverez’s complaint “will be vigorously defended.”

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