A man is suing Los Angeles County, alleging he suffered “irreversible and life-altering injuries” after he was dealt a “grievous blow to the head” in his Men’s Central Jail cell in 2020.
Howard Williams‘ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges civil rights violations, excessive force, failure to protect, deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, public entity liability and failure to summon immediate medical care.
“Before plaintiff suffered the permanent, irreversible and life- altering injuries at issue in this lawsuit, he was a healthy, approximately 37- year-old man with physical sensation and without paralysis who could walk, speak, communicate with others and was not trapped in his body…,” the suit states. Williams seeks unspecified damages in the suit brought Aug. 13. An sheriff’s department representative did not respond to a request made on Saturday for comment .
Williams is in custody at County-USC Medical Center, but was housed at the Men’s Central Jail Dec. 14 when he suffered a traumatic blow to the head in his cell, causing him fall to his cell floor and lie there unresponsive, according to the suit.
“Plaintiff’s medical emergency was obvious, conspicuous and necessitated immediate medical attention,” the suit states.
Williams was either struck on the head by a jail staff member without provocation or by a fellow inmate who the staff failed to isolate from the plaintiff, the suit states. Williams was left untreated for more than three hours in violation of the state Code of Regulations, the suit states.
“During the three-plus hours plaintiff remained on the floor of his cell after suffering a debilitating blow to the head, plaintiff’s medical situation went from emergent to irreversible and life-altering,” the suit states.
Williams was having seizures when he finally received medical help and he was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a major stroke in the central part of his brain and “locked-in syndrome,” an irreversible condition in which a person is trapped inside his or her body, completely paralyzed and unable to communicate, according to the suit.
Someone with “locked-in syndrome” has desires, aims, goals, thoughts and opinions and yet is unable to achieve or express them, the suit states. Williams can move only his eyes to answer yes or no and is fed by means of a special nutrient formula via a tube inserted into his stomach, the suit states. Williams is kept on a special bed designed to decrease pressure on his body and because he is unable to move himself, he must be turned every two hours to prevent bed sores, according to the suit.
People with locked-in syndrome are “complete subjects of their environment, unable to affect it in even minimal ways” and face the reality they will remain that way for the rest of their lives,” the suit states.
Williams’ medical outlook is poor and there is little hope for even a limited recovery, according to the suit.