A new federal lawsuit claims South Carolina’s prison agency should have done more to care for an inmate whose kidney infection was left untreated and eventually caused his death last year.
The Greenville News first reported the complaint was filed Monday on behalf of 27-year-old Victor Rogers’s family. Department of Corrections (SCDC) officials said Rogers was found unresponsive in his cell in March 2015. No cause was given at the time, but the Lee County Coroner’s Office eventually said an autopsy found his death was caused by sepsis due to kidney infection.
The lawsuit claims at least a dozen individuals at SCDC’s Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville knew Rogers was experiencing pain, but did not provide or seek medical care” for him due to “deliberate indifference to the obvious, serious medical needs.” It states the infection was left untreated and eventually caused Rogers’ death.
SCDC Director Bryan Stirling and Lee Correctional’s warden Michael McCall are named in the suit, along with several correctional officers and prison medical staff. An SCDC spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Rogers was in the second year of a seven-year sentence for a second-degree burglary charge at the time of his death. The lawsuit states he was placed in a psychiatric hospital after six months due to “being catatonic,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says a discharge summary said Rogers should be encouraged to take medications and undergo regular medical evaluations by a psychiatrist. The summary also recommended keeping him out of solitary confinement. But the lawsuit claims Rogers was placed in solitary at Lee Correctional and began showing “bizarre” behavior.
Rogers later missed an evaluation appointment because he was not physically able to move out of his cell. An officer at the facility later told state investigators he had warned about Rogers condition two days before his death on March 17, 2015. However, a second officer later admitted he was had been busy and never transported the inmate. Another officer reported Rogers appeared too weak to even stand up by his final week at the prison.