DENVER (KDVR) — A nurse at the Denver Downtown Detention Center has been placed on leave following the death of a Denver inmate on Feb. 9, the Problem Solvers have learned.
Leroy Taylor, 71, was found unresponsive in his cell after he made multiple attempts to seek medical help, according to family members.
“His voice was very hard to understand. He was complaining about his fingertips being blue,” Sandra Menlove, Taylor’s sister, said.
She told FOX31 her brother had spent time at Denver Health after contracting COVID in the jail but even when he returned to the detention center, she said his symptoms remained.
“The very next afternoon he was complaining about his chest hurting,” Menlove said. He told his sister that all the jail did was give him ice chips when he sought help.
Numerous sources inside the jail told the Problem Solvers that deputies felt Taylor needed more serious treatment, but each time the medical team sent him back to his cell.
“‘My fingers are numb; my legs are blue.’ Who made the decision to ignore that?” asked Menlove.
FOX31 is not naming the female charge nurse while Denver Police and the Administrative Investigations Unit for the Department of Safety investigate Taylor’s death to see if there were any medical missteps.
Menlove said her brother went to the medical ward no less than five times seeking help and she believes the nurse who sent him back should be held responsible.
“The very last day that he was alive, they came and got him out of the pod, took him to the infirmary, he was back in an hour,” she said. “He said, ‘They didn’t do nothing, they didn’t take my vitals, they didn’t give me ice. They took me downstairs and they took me back.'”
Taylor’s death was exactly what his public defender wanted to avoid when she filed a motion to reconsider his sentence on Feb. 9, two days before his death.
In her motion, public defender Alexandra Douglas wrote, “Mr. Taylor told counsel that he requested permission to stay in the hospital until he fully recovered but was told that there were too many inmates in need of medical care.”
Douglas’s motion noted that Taylor’s sentence for a probation violation related to a 2016 domestic violence misdemeanor was due to end on Feb. 24. She suggested the judge simply cut Taylor’s sentence to time served or allow him to be released to home detention where family members say he could have then sought medical help.
The judge in the case did not rule or set a date to hear the motion before Taylor’s death two days later.
“‘Sis, don’t let me die in here.’ That was the last words he said to me,” Menlove said.
Denver Health won’t publicly acknowledge it put a nurse on leave even though Menlove told FOX31 she has a voice message on her phone from Denver Health confirming it.
Numerous law enforcement sources also told FOX31 the nurse was suspended earlier this week.