Russell Guess - Virginia Beach October 12, 2001.  Relative questions quality of Virginia Beach inmate's emergency care.

By JON FRANK, The Virginian-Pilot
© October 12, 2001
VIRGINIA BEACH -- The brother of a man who died after collapsing at the city jail is questioning the emergency care given to Russell Guess after he passed out Monday during an inmate basketball game. Guess, 34, died that evening after he was taken from the jail's recreation area to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. A preliminary medical examination indicated that Guess suffered from clogged arteries, jail officials said.

But Brad Guess said Thursday that his brother may not have been given CPR immediately. He also said that his brother's head may have been dropped accidently onto the recreation center's concrete floor by a sheriff's deputy who was the first to respond.

Brad Guess said he was told what happened by a woman whose son was at the recreation area when Russell Guess collapsed. He said he is reserving judgment until he knows more.

``I just want to know what happened,'' said Brad Guess, a Maryland resident who came to Virginia Beach to be with his mother after the death. Virginia Beach Sheriff Paul Lanteigne said on Thursday that all of his deputies are certified to administer CPR and that it, along with a procedure known as ``rescue breathing,'' was administered to Russell Guess.

Lanteigne said members of the Virginia Beach Fire Department arrived first, followed by members of Virginia Beach emergency services. Russell Guess was taken to the hospital by the rescue squad, Lanteigne said.

A final report on the death has not been completed, said Paula Miller, spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office.

Miller said it was ``absolutely not true'' that Russell Guess' head was dropped onto the concrete. Miller said Russell Guess collapsed at 5:09 p.m. and was  transferred to the hospital at 5:55 p.m. Medical staff and emergency workers tried to revive him before he was taken to Virginia Beach General, she said. Meanwhile, at least two investigations into a death at the jail earlier this year are still pending, Lanteigne said.

Kathy S. Kearns, 43, died in her cell April 26 from liver disease. An FBI inquiry was begun soon after her death to determine if jail officials provided adequate medical care for Kearns in the weeks and hours leading up to April 26.

An independent investigation also was ordered by Lanteigne.

Her death attracted worldwide attention. Amnesty International is monitoring both investigations and has promised to do another if needed. The contracted health care provider at the jail, Correctional Medical Services, was placed on a month-to-month contract status by Lanteigne in July. The contract, Lanteigne said, will be reviewed once all investigations into Kearns' death are complete. Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, declined comment on Thursday.

CMS, based in St. Louis, is one of the nation's largest providers of health care for jails and prisons.

Two deaths also have occurred this year at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, where CMS also provides the health care. Those deaths, which also occurred in April, were ruled to be caused by coronary disease.

The regional jail holds prisoners from Portsmouth, Newport News, Norfolk and Hampton. It was built to handle prisoners with serious medical conditions. Reach Jon Frank at 446-2277 or