Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Diabetic wins $17.5 million from NY city because police didn't give him his insulin

From the NY Daily News:

A diabetic who suffered debilitating brain damage when cops deprived him of insulin won a $17.5 million judgment against the city Oct. 19.

Jose Vargas, 43, was busted on a minor drug charge in September 2006 and tossed into a Brooklyn holding cell without his meds.

Refused his needles and insulin for nearly 60 hours, the Type I diabetic suffered multiple seizures.

It changed his life forever, a jury found.

Now confined to a wheelchair and living in a nursing home, Vargas is barely aware that jurors found in his favor.

"He's an insulin-dependent diabetic who went 58 hours without his medication, had multiple seizures, went into a coma for eight days and spent 30 days in the hospital," said Vargas' lawyer, Seth Harris. "He's permanently disabled."

"It's outrageous," added Harris. "He repeatedly told the police he needed his insulin."

The taxpayer-funded award will pay for Vargas' lifetime care in a nursing home.

City Hall lawyers said they'll appeal the verdict.

The jury found that cops violated the city's policy on providing medical care to prisoners.

The arresting officers who testified at the trial said they didn't know Vargas was an insulin-dependent Type I diabetic.

One wrote on a form that Vargas "can control his diabetes through diet" - usually a description for Type II diabetics.

But his condition was more serious.

"Why would a Type I diabetic say that?" said Harris.