Inmate claims jail employees withheld oxygen in federal suit

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 24, 2006, 8:59am

A Madison County jail inmate claims jail employees tried to kill him by not giving him oxygen he needed, according to a suit filed in federal court.

Ronald G. Atwood claims that on June 10, electric power was disrupted by a storm causing his 24-hour oxygen machine to shut down.

He claims the jail's spare oxygen tank was locked in a closet, but no one on duty had a key.

Atwood claims a corrections officer told him he would not die without the oxygen.

According to Atwood, he requires oxygen because of five bypass surgeries. He also claims to be diabetic.

Atwood was arrested by the Granite City Police Department on charges of child pornography and drug possession on Dec. 30, 2005.

In his complaint, Atwood also claims his blood sugar is only checked once a week and the jail staff has refused to take him to the hospital after repeated requests.

"I have a problem with my bowels," Atwood wrote in a handwritten complaint filed July 19 in East St. Louis.

"When I go it hurts and burns," he wrote. "When I do go it feels like someone is sticking (me)."

"I'm afraid to even pass gas..."

Atwood claims that the medical staff tried to give him someone else's medication.

Seeking a bench trial, Atwood is asking for all charges against him to be dropped and also is seeking $6 million to compensate him for the time he has spent in jail.

The case has been assigned to District Judge David Herndon.


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