The parents of Lise Marie Ostler, who died in jail in 2016, have settled their lawsuit against Salt Lake County for $950,000.
Ostler was arrested in Draper when police approached her in a parking lot and found several syringes she allegedly used to inject heroin and meth. When Ostler was in jail, staff members believed she was suffering withdrawal from opiates. However, she suffered from Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause extreme pain and digestive issues.
Ostler died at a hospital on April 3, 2016. A medical examiner determined that she died of peritonitis, an inflammation in the stomach that can lead to a spreading infection.
Ostler’s parents said they were surprised at the autopsy’s findings and when other women who had been in jail had contacted them after their daughter died to tell them about how she suffered.
Rock Anderson, the family’s attorney, said that if jail staff members followed the proper protocols, Ostler would be alive today.
“You’ve got all of these moments, all of these people involved either doing the wrong things or not doing anything at all,” he said. “They totally blew her off. And it cost her her life.”
The money the parents received in the lawsuit settlement will help Ostler’s three children. However, the parents don’t believe it’s enough.
“We have to change things in the jail,” Calvin Ostler said Monday. “People are dying out there. It could be your kid next.”
“We are asking our Legislature, the judges, the sheriffs to really look at what policy and procedures are at the Salt Lake County jail,” Kim Ostler said. “And that an incarcerated person’s health and welfare is number one. These children don’t have a mother [now], and that isn’t right.”
Salt Lake County officials didn’t admit fault as part of the settlement.
“The county considers any loss of life tragic,” said Bridget Romano, an attorney with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. “And every case involving a death at the Salt Lake County jail rises and falls on its own unique facts and circumstances. Salt Lake County’s decision to settle this matter was not based on an admission of liability, rather it reflects the county’s good faith appraisal of all aspects of this case, which include in part, the passage of time and the tragic loss of witnesses due to intervening death and incapacitation.”