ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The family of a man who died while in custody at the Arapahoe County Jail said the private medical company treating inmates there let him die.
Jeffrey Lillis’ family has filed a lawsuit, asking that the company and the county be held accountable. Lillis died on the floor of his jail cell in December 2014 from sepsis caused by bacterial pneumonia.
He had been complaining for days that he was sick and getting sicker. But instead of getting him evaluated and treated, lawyers say nurses for private company gave him Gatorade and ibuprofen.
The lawsuit names Arapahoe County, Correct Care Solutions, Correctional Healthcare Companies, Great Peak Healthcare Services, Correctional Healthcare Services, Maxim Healthcare Services, a doctor and six nurses as defendants.
Lillis, 37, was a healthy father of five when he was booked into the jail for parole violations on a drug case.
“It was allowed to go untreated and it became septic until his body shut down and he died on the cell of his floor surrounded by his own blood and vomit,” lawyer Erica Grossman said.
The lawsuit filed by Lillis’ wife and children in U.S. District Court in Denver said the private contractor handling inmate medical care ignored Lillis’ pleas for help as he became increasingly sick.
Surveillance video shows Lillis collapsing on the floor, moments from death, while the nurse does nothing.
“I have absolutely no explanatio,” Grossman said. “I can think of no medical explanation where you would watch someone die on video rather than help them.”
The lawsuit accuses the private contractor of putting profits above providing medical care.
“That’s a huge part of the problem on why they save money by taking this reckless wait-and-see approach to whether or not it’s really a serious condition,” Grossman said.