Report: Broome Jail Nurse Left Patient to Die

By Dave Greber

October 25, 2012 Updated Oct 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM EDT

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A member of the nursing staff at the Broome County Jail left an inmate to die last year without proper medical attention, according to a state report obtained by Action News.

The report is the result of an investigation by the New York State Commission of Correction into the July 2011 death of Alvin Rios Jr., a known heroin user with a previous record for drugs and other offenses.

His official cause of death was heart disease from illicit drug use, and it's the subject of a lawsuit against Broome County and its jail.

The 41-year-old Rios was arrested on a drug warrant July 19, 2011, by Broome County Sheriffs deputies.

Rios sought medical attention for drug withdrawal, specifically from opiates. And although nurses were alerted to his condition, a staff doctor at the jail at the time never was, according to the report.

Medical services are provided to the jail by Correctional Medical Care, Inc.

A corrections officer found Rios just after 4 p.m., July 20, 2011, face-down and shaking in his jail cell the following afternoon. It was just minutes after Rios was last seen asking for a newspaper.

But the response from a former staff nurse contributed to his death, according to the report.

"The RN clearly left his patient in an emergent life threatening status without appropriate medical attention," the report states.

The nurse in question has since been fired for failing to follow both state and company policy.

Meanwhile, the county launched its own investigation in July into whether CMC would continue to provide medical care at the jail.

County officials said CMC continues to provide medical services at Broome County Jail.