A jury has awarded a man $590,600 after a prison nurse failed to diagnose or treat his tuberculosis (TB) infection, Minnesota’s Star Tribune reported.
In 2008, Marchello McCaster served 56 days for misdemeanor assault. During that time, he lost 44 pounds. He also “walked like an old man, constantly wrapped himself in a blanket and was shaky,” according to a corrections officer.
The nurse, Mary Clausen, treated the inmate for an abscessed tooth and, later, foot pain but failed to recognize that he was suffering TB symptoms or nerve damage.
By the time McCaster did go to a hospital, he had a fever of 102.7, and he was diagnosed with pneumonia and TB. He spent three-and-a-half months in the hospital due to “heart damage, liver lesions, nerve damage that made walking difficult, and other ailments,” the paper reported.
Clausen and other nurses allegedly stated that they did not spend enough time with McCaster to notice how ill he was. Jurors found Clausen to be “deliberately indifferent.”
Clausen’s negligence put 108 inmates and 42 guards at risk of developing TB, and, according to the Tribune, all have been treated for active or latent infections. An active infection, per WebMD, is one in which bacteria are causing symptoms; a latent infection is one that may become active, but the immune system is fighting it.