The Denver Post
Inmate Terrell Griswold's inability to urinate was never treated and ultimately led to his death, a medical investigator says.
"I feel very strongly that if they treated this he'd still be alive today," said Shawn Parcells, a medical investigator and forensic pathologist assistant from Kansas City who was hired by Griswold's mother to review circumstances leading to his death.
Griswold, 26, was serving a three-year sentence for theft at Bent County Correctional Facility. He was found slumped over a toilet 12 hours after a nurse said he looked fine on Oct. 28, 2010, said Griswold's mother Lagalia Afola, of Kansas City.
"This is so rare," Afola said. "For a young man to die of a urinary blockage is unheard of. My son should not be dead."
The prison is run by a private company Corrections Corporation of America.
"We take the medical care of inmates in our custody seriously," CCA spokesman Steve Owen said in a written response. He could not comment about Griswold's case because of confidentiality issues, he said. "But we do refer you to the cause of death in the public record."
The El Paso County coroner's office determined that the cause of death was cardiac hypertrophy, hypertension, obstructive uropathy and hereditary cardiac hypertrophy.
The coroner, Dr. Robert C. Bux, characterized Griswold's urinary condition as a secondary cause of death to hypertension and an enlarged heart. However, he added that the blockage could have caused hypertension and contributed to an enlarged heart.
Parcells said he believes Griswold's cause of death should have been listed as "complications of obstructive uropathy."
A nodule on Griswold's prostatic urethra accounted for his urine retention and severe kidney problems, Parcells wrote. It also caused high blood pressure. He had been seen repeatedly by medical staff at the prison for recurring bladder-related symptoms including abdominal pain and an inability to urinate. He received medicines that didn't address his condition and never got a thorough examination by a urologist, he said.
"In the end, his body was not able to adjust to the increasing amounts of waste products in his system and the heart had increasing loads of 'fluid retention' it had to deal with," he wrote. "Terrell was in metabolic disarray and an imbalance of electrolytes. This would explain the sudden death..."
Afola said her son played basketball nearly every day. She said on the last week of his life he was sleeping a lot and complaining of intense abdominal pain.
DOC spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said Griswold came to the prison with a long history of neurological and urological issues. She said the state will conduct a mortality review of the case.
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Friday, February 03, 2012
The Denver Post