A West Palm Beach grand jury declared “fundamentally inadequate” the medical care given to an 18-year-old who died after two head injuries he received at the county juvenile lockup were ignored for hours by guards, supervisors and the facility’s superintendent.
Eric Perez, who was detained after being arrested with a small amount of marijuana, died in the early morning hours of July 9 after spending most of the prior night hallucinating, vomiting, soiling himself and seeking help from guards who ignored him. The grand jury’s report, issued Friday, said Eric had been dead for an hour before lockup corrections officers noticed he had passed away. An officer stationed outside his cell had checked on him every 10 minutes without noticing his death.
“The only attempt to seek an outside medical opinion during the entire episode was two phone calls to the head nurse that went unanswered during the night,” the report, called a presentment, said. “The officers’ response to Mr. Perez’s hallucinations, instability and cries of pain were to simply observe him as he lay on the floor vomiting and defecating in his underwear. More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.”
The Medical Examiner’s Office in West Palm Beach ruled the cause of death to be intracranial hemorrhage, a type of stroke, of unknown origin. The manner of death was undetermined.