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Terminally Ill Inmate Sues Texas Prison System

Date06 May 2019
Terminally Ill Inmate Sues Texas Prison System

Jeremy Needum, who is dying of a rare cancer, has file a lawsuit against the Texas prison system, alleging officials took away his morphine after he filed a sexual harassment complaint.

Needum had been in prison for over 10 years already in 2016 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. There aren’t any clear defined treatments for this particular cancer, so the prognosis is poor. By the end of 2018, he was in palliative care and receiving morphine every few hours.

Last fall, Needum was transferred to the Jester III Unit, a lock-up in Richmond. He claims a medical staff member encouraged others to question his use of morphine and cut back his intake of the drug. Needum said he was frequently in pain and complained to the staff members about it several times.

“The sheer number of specific instances in which these providers knew and insisted on continuing courses of treatment that the providers knew were causing the plaintiff pain, and that were ineffective, caused a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff,” wrote Needum who is representing himself in this case.

Last December, Needum filed a sexual harassment complaint against one of the medical providers. He claims one of the medical providers threatened to stop treating him after the complaint.

In February, Needum was taken off the morphine completely and he was found on the floor a few days later in pain. The lawsuit says he was taken to the Oakbend Medical Center on Feb. 18 for symptoms of withdrawal.

“Prison officials must respond to all of plaintiff’s serious medical needs, not just the minor ones they can actually handle,” Needum wrote in the lawsuit.

Needum asks for an unspecified amount of monetary damages and for the court to order officials to give him morphine again.

Needum is representing himself in this lawsuit. He was convicted of aggravated assault on a public servant, resisting arrest, and endangering a child.

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