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Inmate lawsuit says treatment was denied

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By Damon Lawrence

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

Brandi Rene Buckholtz is suing Roane County and Sheriff Jack Stockton, alleging she contracted the treatment-resistant bacterial infection MRSA when she was an inmate at the Roane County Jail.

Knoxville attorney Bob Vogel filed the lawsuit on her behalf in U.S. District Court in March. Southern Health Partners Inc. is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

“On or about Feb. 10, 2013, Ms. Buckholtz began filing call slips and/or medical requests that complained of a rash and severe itching,” the lawsuit said. “From time to time, Ms. Buckholtz continued to request medical assistance for the rash, which was spreading and for itching, which was becoming more intense.”

The lawsuit alleges Buckholtz pleaded with jail and medical staff for help.

“Her condition continued to worsen,” the lawsuit said. “She was unable to get medical staff to provide her service.”

Buckholtz finally was taken to Roane Medical Center, where she was hospitalized from March 20-24, 2013. The lawsuit claims she was diagnosed with MRSA, mild anemia and fever.

“Ms. Buckholtz suffered weeks of post-operative treatment to cure the infection and to heal the wound,” the lawsuit said. “During that time, she suffered physical and emotional pain and distress … Ms. Buckholtz now has a permanent and disfiguring scar on her inner thigh.”

The county and Stockton are being represented by Jeffrey R. Thompson of the Knoxville law firm O’Neil, Parker and Williamson. He filed an answer to the lawsuit on May 27.

“These defendants are immune from suit under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act,” the answer said.

The answer also denies the allegation that jail staff willfully ignored Buckholtz pleas for help.