Diabetic Prisoner Given High-Sugar Meals May Proceed With Suit

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By Bernie Pazanowski

A diabetic prisoner is entitled to a preliminary injunction prohibiting prison officials from giving him high-sugar meals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held Jan. 30.

Carl Jones showed a likelihood of success on the merits of his civil rights claim that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his condition, the per curiam opinion said.

Doctors prescribed Jones a special diet due to his diabetes. Jones claimed that he had a stroke in early April 2016 and that when the prison was put on lockdown that month it ignored his diet, giving him a high-sugar one that increased his blood sugar level to over 500.

Prison officials ignored Jones’s pleas to resume his special diet and told him he wouldn’t get it back if he filed another complaint. Jones said he had a heart attack at the end of that April.

Jones claimed the officials’ deliberate indifference placed him at a risk of stroke and heart attack. The magistrate judge said Jones only showed negligence and the harm he alleged wasn’t an irreparable injury requiring immediate injunctive relief.

But Jones alleged a pattern of knowing interference with prescribed medical care, despite his multiple complaints, the court said. That’s deliberate indifference, it said.

Jones also alleged a high-sugar diet places him at risk of additional strokes and heart attacks, the court said. These allegations establish a sufficient risk of irreparable harm, it said.

Judges Jacques L. Wiener Jr., James L. Dennis, and Leslie H. Southwick were on the panel.

Jones represented himself. The state wasn’t asked to respond to Jones’s petition.

The case is Jones v. Tex. Dep’t of Criminal Justice , 2018 BL 29268, 5th Cir., No. 17-10302, 1/29/18 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at bpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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