A Nassau County jail inmate died Thursday while hospitalized, the third inmate fatality in a year in which the quality of the county jail’s medical treatment has come under intense scrutiny.
Jail medical personnel saw the 63-year-old inmate before he was transferred Wednesday morning to Nassau University Medical Center and later died, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.
The inmate’s family identified him in a Newsday interview as William Satchell, a father of four and retired janitor from Hempstead who took medication for high blood pressure.
His death follows County Executive Edward Mangano’s announcement Tuesday that a team of public health officials would review medical treatment at the jail.
Satchell’s death also comes after the March 7 death of inmate Samuel Lawrence, 63, whose family was told he died of a massive heart attack. As authorities investigate the fatalities, Satchell’s family, like Lawrence’s, is now raising concerns about whether their relative got proper care.
The state Commission of Correction found last year that the East Meadow facility’s private health care provider, Armor Correctional Health Services, has a pattern of neglectful inmate care. Since Armor won its first county contract in mid-2011, the commission has found the company provided inadequate care in the deaths of four inmates.
Armor, whose practices also are the target of a state attorney general’s investigation, has repeatedly defended its care. A company spokeswoman said they’d been informed of an inmate’s death at NUMC but couldn’t comment further on the patient’s health because of a privacy law.
Democratic county legislators recently called for an end to Armor’s contract and asked federal officials to investigate what they called an “ongoing civil rights crisis” involving poor medical care at the jail.
Court records show Hempstead police arrested Satchell on March 17 on marijuana and weapon charges.
Iesha Roland, 21, a close family friend who visited him in jail March 18, said Satchell talked about health complications.
“He said that his pressure was high. They were saying that something was wrong with his heart,” she said Thursday.
Satchell’s brother, Earl Toppin, 52, said he tried to visit other days and Satchell refused to come to the visiting area.
Toppin said a doctor called him Wednesday and said Satchell had very high blood sugar, before Toppin got a call from the hospital at 4 a.m. Thursday saying Satchell was in cardiac arrest.
He said he visited Satchell in the hospital, but later got a call saying that his brother had died after another cardiac arrest.
“My question is, what were the accommodations at that jail? How was he treated? Was he given any medications?” Toppin said.