Andres Romero has filed a lawsuit against Cochise County Jail, claiming staff members denied him medical care for a toe infection, which resulted in him losing a leg.
Romero entered Cochise County Jail in Bisbee, Arizona on June 9 for four felony counts of sexual abuse against his teenage daughter. About a month later, a knob that turns the water on in a shower he was using fell on his big toe on his right foot.
Romero felt pain instantly and his toe began to swell. He initially asked nursing staff to remove the loose nail hanging from his toe, but they declined. He removed the nail himself a couple nights later, but he still experienced pain and swelling.
At this time, Romero told jail staff that he believed his toe was infected and filed several requests for medical evaluation with a doctor. However, he claims that nurses only provided him with Tylenol and warm water packets to put on the injury.
His toe eventually turned black and omitted a gangrenous odor.
“My toe is hurting so bad — I don’t sleep during the daytime, I don’t sleep during the nighttime,” Romero said.
Romero’s ex-cellmate Jeremy Welch said that he remembered him standing up to go to the bathroom one night, but his injured foot was unable to support him. He fell and hit his head. Instead of getting treatment, Romero was put in a hole.
“It’s like solitary confinement — he was put there for ‘special handling,’” said Welch.
Sometime in August Romero was finally taken to the hospital for x-rays. Two or three weeks later, they called him back and he was transferred to Tucson Medical Center for further care. At first, doctors told him that his toe needed to be amputated. A few weeks later, however, they told him that infection remained, so they cut off his lower leg.
“I told them just cut it,” Romero said, fearing the infection would spread to his heart. “I don’t want to die.”
Romero was released from jail on October 18. He said his wife has to help him with basic tasks and that he can’t find employment.
Romero is asking for $2.5 million in financial compensation for the injury.