A West Palm Beach grand jury declared “fundamentally and woefully inadequate” the medical care given to an 18-year-old who died after two head injuries he received at the county juvenile lockup were ignored for hours by guards, supervisors and the facility’s superintendent.
Eric Perez, who was detained after being arrested with a small amount of marijuana, died in the early morning hours of July 9 after spending most of the prior night hallucinating, vomiting, soiling himself and seeking help from guards who ignored him. The grand jury’s presentment said Eric had been dead for an hour before lockup corrections officers noticed he had passed away. An officer stationed outside his cell had checked on him every 10 minutes without noticing his death.
“The only attempt to seek an outside medical opinion during the entire episode was two phone calls to the head nurse that went unanswered during the night,” the presentment said. “The officers’ response to Mr. Perez’s hallucinations, instability and cries of pain were to simply observe him as he lay on the floor vomiting and defecating in his underwear. More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.”
Department of Juvenile Justice administrators said Friday they had received a copy of the report and “will carefully review its findings to determine if additional action is needed to ensure the safety of youth in our care.”
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