Family of inmate who died after not getting dialysis sues Utah State Prison

Posted at 3:16 PM, Jun 19, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- The family of an inmate who died after going days without getting kidney dialysis has filed a lawsuit against the Utah Dept. of Corrections and University of Utah Health Care.

Ramon Estrada's children filed the lawsuit this week in federal court, accusing state prison officials of negligence and cruel and unusual punishment. Estrada, 62, who was serving time for a rape conviction, was due to be paroled shortly before he died on April 5.

Ramon C. Estrada

Ramon C. Estrada (photo provided by the Utah Dept. of Corrections)

"They knew he had a serious medical condition that he needed this life-saving dialysis," Estrada family attorney Alyson McAllister said. "He didn’t get it on Friday and they knew he didn’t get it. He didn’t get it on Saturday and they knew he didn’t get it, and he didn’t get it on Sunday."

University of Utah Health Care at the time said a scheduling error led to dialysis technicians not showing up to provide the treatment at the prison. Several other inmates who were due to receive dialysis were hospitalized as well. Corrections officials said Estrada died from cardiac arrest, likely due to renal failure.

"It’s definitely negligence, but it’s more than negligence," McAllister told reporters on Friday. "It’s deliberate indifference."

Estrada's children, who live in Texas, complained that they have not been able to get much information from the Utah Dept. of Corrections about his death. McAllister claimed Estrada's body has yet to be released to the family so they can bury him.

"We have not officially received the lawsuit and therefore haven't had a chance to review it. In addition, our internal investigation is still ongoing," Utah Dept. of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams said in a statement to FOX 13.

University of Utah Health Care, which provides medical services to the prison, also declined comment on Friday but noted that "we have taken steps to ensure such a mistake does not occur again."

The lawsuit filed by the Estrada family does not list an amount in damages. The state has 60 days to respond.