Cononer’s inquest hears inmate asked to be put on methadone for addiction two months before his death
April Tykoliz says her little brother Marty requested help many times throughout his life, but when he reached out as an inmate at the Barton Street jail, it was denied.
“He requested help and was denied help. It says right on his form, he was denied,” she said in reference to a health document put before a five-person jury at a coroner’s inquest, Friday.
The Barton Street jail inquest is tasked with examining the circumstances surrounding eight inmate deaths with ties to drug toxicity, including Tykoliz’s, in May 2014.
His request, documented by healthcare staff in March of that year, was to be put on the methadone program.
Methadone is a drug that is often used to manage addictions, the jury heard. The jury has also heard that there are restrictions on who can participate in methadone programs.
Shirley Kennedy, the jail’s former healthcare services manager, said the program is available to inmates who are already on a methadone program when they come in, as well as those who are within a month of release or who are pregnant. None of those applied to Marty.
Kennedy told the inquest that the policy isn’t the only barrier to “new starts” in the program, it’s also the resources.
When she was on staff, she said, she recalled the ratio was one nurse to 70 inmates in the program.
Other documents from inside the institution appear to show an awareness of addiction issues in relation to Marty Tykoliz.
An admission form in 2012 lists him as “dope sick,” but that document is not generally passed along to nursing, Kennedy said.
A doctor’s summary dated March 14, 2014, describes Tykoliz as a “self-proclaimed drug addict.” There is no record of any visits with a physician after that date.
Determining a ‘crisis situation’
The jury heard an audio statement that police took from nurse Ruth-Anne Day about her part in assessing Tykoliz, who had been put in a segregation cell for monitoring after an overdose on May 5, 2014.
Day’s assessment of Tykoliz took place at 6:45 a.m. on May 6, according to an agreed statement of facts.
In the audio statement, she says that on multiple occasions, Marty’s blood pressure and pulse were low, but that she didn’t feel it was a “crisis situation” because he was responsive. She elaborates on her belief, pointing to the possibility that his body was just flushing the drugs.
At 8:10 a.m., correctional staff note, “Breakfast not eaten.” Then, at 9:08 a.m., a “code white” emergency was called. “I was shocked because he sat up and spoke to me,” Day said.
The jury at this coroner’s inquest may make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths.
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