Wrongful death lawsuit: Jail staff ignored inmate's heroin withdrawal

Wrongful death lawsuit: Jail staff ignored inmate's heroin withdrawal

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The death of a female inmate at the Hamilton County jail has led to a federal lawsuit against several defendants including the sheriff, county commissioners and the jail's medical staff.

The lawsuit claims civil rights violations, wrongful death and medical malpractice in the death of Martie Clark, who died at the Hamilton County jail exactly last year.

The lawsuit, filed by Clark's family, says Martie died while suffering from heroin withdrawals. Attorney Jaceda Blazef said the suit accuses Martie's jailers and the jail's medical staff of ignoring her obvious signs of distress.

"This is outrageous conduct. This is a senseless loss," said Blazef. "A death that didn't need to occur."

Blazef said the suit also claims Martie became unresponsive three days after being booked into the county jail on misdemeanor charges.

The suit alleges no doctor, nurse or corrections officer provided or arranged for any medical care for Martie.  The suit goes on to say that at one point a doctor noticed Martie's eyes were fixed and dilated and she was cold to the touch.

Martie's mother, Linda Clark, says Martie's death has been painful.

"It's just hard to navigate," said Clark. "I mean it's just hard, it's very traumatic."

Clark said the family wants justice and perhaps help another addict and their family.

"Help them stay alive, help them kick the habit, try to be a normal person and live a normal life," said Clark. "If it helps one person it would be worth all the heartache we've went through because that's what she died for."

FOX19 NOW reached out to the county prosecutor's office which is defending the sheriff's office, but it has declined comment. Meanwhile, Martie Clark's family is seeking at least $1 million in damages.

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