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Grand Jury Blames Florida Jail In Death
By Associated Press
Published: 08/13/2002

Deficiencies by jail personnel, including a nurse, contributed to the death of an inmate who apparently swallowed several Ecstasy pills before his lockup, a grand jury report said.
Justin Sturgis, 20, died in February, five hours after being booked into the Bay County Jail for driving while drunk. He apparently swallowed 10 to 12 Ecstasy pills just before his arrest.
Deeno Kitchen, an attorney for the Corrections Corporation of America, the company that operates the jail, said Sturgis ate the pills so they wouldn't be found in his possession.
But in a report, grand jurors said jail workers failed to adequately monitor Sturgis, though the sudden onset of symptoms and amount of drugs consumed made it uncertain if he could have been saved.
'Correctional personnel failed to demonstrate adequate health training in responding to the level of distress evidenced by Justin Sturgis,' the grand jury presentment stated.
The grand jury, however, found no criminal liability.
Doctors at Bay Medical Center said Sturgis died of malignant hypothermia, a rare reaction to the drug. His temperature reportedly was 108 degrees when admitted to the hospital, about three hours after he first became ill.
The report singled out the response of jail nurse William Schwarz Jr.
Emergency room Dr. George Tracy testified he told Schwarz to take Sturgis' vital signs and call him back. Schwarz said Tracy told him to call back in two hours, the report said.
Schwarz's attorney Harry Harper said Schwarz was the only nurse on duty and acted 'reasonably and responsibly.'


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