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Men Who Got Sick in Prison Get $1.2M


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Men Who Got Sick in Prison Get $1.2M

By DAVID B. CARUSO

Associated Press Writer

January 12, 2005, 12:26 AM EST

PHILADELPHIA -- A federal jury has awarded $1.2 million to two former inmates who developed abscess wounds from a drug-resistant skin infection that swept through a county jail in 2001 and 2002.

The jury ruled Monday that Bucks County prison officials failed to get the men prompt medical treatment. Kevin Keller, 27, and Benjamin Martin, 23, said they begged for help for weeks as their infections spread.

Martin said he suffered nerve damage in both legs after the infection rooted in his hip. Keller said prison staff ignored his requests for a doctor as the infection traveled through his body.

County officials said they're considering an appeal.

"We do not believe the evidence supports the verdict for either plaintiff, in any amount," county solicitor Guy Matthews said.

The cases were just two of several filed by prisoners and guards who alleged county officials didn't act quickly enough to contain an outbreak of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. A federal judge last month authorized a class-action lawsuit against the county on behalf of all current prisoners at the jail.

Copyright © 2005, The Associated Press

www.newsday.com

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