The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has ruled that three medical professionals at a Colorado prison violated an inmate’s constitutional rights and may therefore be sued.
Seifullah Chapman is an inmate at the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence. He has severe Type 1 diabetes, requiring special medical care, and is at risk for related disorders that result in a 10% to 15% mortality rate.
His life is endangered if he does not receive between three and six shots of insulin per day.
Judge Jerome A. Holmes, writing for the three-judge appeals panel, found “considerable record evidence” that the defendants — George Santini, Anthony Soagie, and Ronald Camacho — provided Chapman care that was “dramatically short of medically acceptable standards ... even for prisoners.”
The court, which released its ruling Thursday, did not dismiss outright the defendants’ argument that staffing and security circumstances outside their control contributed to their ability to care for Chapman, but it nevertheless agreed they violated the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and usual punishment.
Describing Chapman’s care as so poor that it may have caused him brain injury, Holmes added that “the record strongly suggests that Mr. Chapman’s care at ADX was ‘contrary to ... basic human rights and the community standards of care.’”
In ruling that the medical workers violated clear legal standards, the court listed the incidents for which the defendants could be held personally liable, including a two-hour delay in returning with sliding scale insulin after Chapman slipped into severe hyperglycemia when he felt his blood was “on fire.”