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Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 10:17 AM
Subject: Family alleges Jamie Weaver's pleas for help went unheeded 


Family alleges Jamie Weaver's pleas for help went unheeded 


Staff Reporters

A 31-year-old Mobile County Metro Jail inmate died a week ago following surgery at a local hospital, where he was taken after making repeated requests to see a doctor, according to a lawyer retained by the dead man's family. 

Investigators are looking into the death of Jamie Weaver but have no reason to believe he was mistreated prior to his transfer to the University of South Alabama Medical Center, according to an official with the Mobile County Sheriff's Department, which operates the jail. 

Weaver "became gravely ill while he was at the Metro Jail where he languished for some time and complained of his condition," said Mobile lawyer Andrew Jones. "His complaints were apparently ignored until it was too late. Following surgery, he never recovered and passed away." 

Chief Deputy Mark Barlow said he didn't believe there had been any allegation regarding the medical treatment the inmate received while in jail. 

"Nobody has complained to us regarding the treatment he received prior to going to the hospital," Barlow said. 

Preliminary autopsy results indicate Weaver died of complications from cirrhosis of the liver, said Dr. Leroy Riddick, chief medical examiner at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences office in Mobile. The condition is common in alcoholics. 

Jones said Weaver's parents were told their son died following surgery. 

"It's our understanding that he died from staph infections that had essentially attacked his heart," he said. 

"Patients with cirrhosis are particularly prone to develop fatal bacterial infections, kidney malfunctions, stomach ulcers, gallstones, a type of diabetes and cancer of the liver," according to the American Liver Foundation's Web site, 

Jones did not say what type of surgery Weaver had. Citing a new federal patient privacy law, hospital officials declined to say whether Weaver was even treated there. 

Weaver, of Eight Mile, was wanted for jumping bail when he was booked into the jail Aug. 4 and sustained undisclosed injuries in a struggle with the bail bondsman who captured him, Jones said. In his mug shot, Weaver's left eye appears to be bruised and swollen shut. 

All inmates undergo a medical evaluation when they enter the jail, Barlow said. Weaver was not involved in any altercations with corrections officers or other inmates, nor was he restrained by jail staff while incarcerated, Barlow said. 

The use of restraints is one of the issues that has been raised regarding the treatment of James Carpenter, an inmate who died in the jail three years ago. A federal lawsuit is pending over his death. 

Jones said Weaver appeared "pallid and ashen" and had swelling in his extremities when his mother visited him at the jail about two days after his arrest. Weaver's father contacted jail staff about getting medical attention for his son, the lawyer said. 

"Apparently this was not done," he said. 

Weaver was transferred to the hospital Aug. 9, Barlow said. Surgeons operated on the inmate Aug. 15, Barlow said, and he died the following day. A chaplain and a jail supervisor went to the hospital, and the family said they appreciated the staff's work, Barlow said. 

Jones said Weaver's family contacted him Wednesday about possible legal action. 

Weaver was a petty criminal with a record of offenses such as harassment and minor theft dating at least as far back as 1990, according to court records. He and a woman named Sherre Sellers were charged after a June shoplifting episode at the Wal-Mart in Saraland turned violent. Weaver pulled a knife and struck a security guard who tried to stop them from stealing a phone, some earrings and six pairs of sunglasses, and Sellers damaged six bicycles in the course of trying to run over the guard with a car, according to an incident report. 

The Sheriff's Department's investigation into Weaver's death won't be finished until the autopsy is complete, Barlow said, which likely will take several weeks or more due to backlogs at the state lab that performs toxicology tests. 

Weaver, a painter, was laid to rest Monday in Reed's Chapel Cemetery in McIntosh in Washington County. He is survived by a daughter, Christen Shea Weaver of Mobile; his father and stepmother, Guy and Ruby Weaver of Eight Mile; and two siblings, both of Westwego, La.