Diabetic man dies in jail from diabetes-related complications
The New York Times have published a video showing a diabetic man’s final hours after he died in New York City’s main jail complex from diabetes-related complications.
Rikers Island jail complex has come under criticism after 45-year-old Carlos Mercado slowly died over 14 hours, carrying a bag of his own sick around with him after jailers had confiscated his insulin.
The correction officers believed Mercado was withdrawing from illegal drugs.
“Nobody should have to die like that”
Carlos Mercado was arrested for trying to sell heroin to an undercover officer in August, 2013. He was subsequently taken to Rikers Island.
The video, published on Tuesday 1 September, shows Mercado collapse when a guard opens a holding cell door. Following his collapse, Mercado is left on the ground for three minutes as a guard steps over his body.
Correction officers had previously taken away Mercado’s insulin. As a result, Mercado entered diabetic ketoacidosis and began vomiting – he carried the vomit in a plastic bag in order to alert the officers that something was wrong.
Mercado threw up “10 or 20 times” according to a report from the New York State Commission. Mercado told the guards that he needed his insulin, and that he had diabetes, but he was still denied medical attention.
This report, as well as an internal Department of Correction investigation, concluded that Mercado died from diabetes-related complications. His death was the fault of the correction officers, according to the reports, as they thought Mercado was “withdrawing”.
“Nobody should have to die like that,” said Carlos’s sister, Linda Mercado. “All he was asking for was his medicine. That’s all he needed. He would be here today.”
Mercado arrived at the Anna M. Kross Center on Riker’s Island at 18:54 and died at 09:36 the next day.
Violation of protocol
The New York State Commission of Correction’s report said that the officers’ failure to refer Mercado to a medical unit violated Department of Correction protocol.
The DOC investigation has called for Maurice Brown, Eric Jacobs, Reginald Faulkner, and Brian Chin to undergo retraining.
Law firm Rankin & Taylor are currently in settlement negotiations with the city on behalf of Mr. Mercado’s family.
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