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Wed Apr 7, 2021, 11:53 AM

Federal appeals court rules in favor of prison contractor in amputation lawsuit

Federal appeals court rules in favor of prison contractor in amputation lawsuit

By ERIN SHERIDAN esheridan@idahopress.com 16 hrs ago Comments

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a prison medical provider in a case filed by an Idaho Department of Correction inmate alleging medical staff failed to treat his leg infection, resulting in amputation. ... The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower courtís ruling which dismissed the case in its entirety on procedural grounds in November 2019.

Gary Merchant, 68, filed suit against the Idaho Department of Correction, Corizon Health Inc., former Warden Keith Yordy, and two doctors employed by Corizon in December 2017 after he swallowed a razor blade to force transport to the hospital, where his leg was amputated.

Merchant alleged he lost his leg because Corizon did not timely diagnose and treat his leg infection. However, in between Merchant's initial complaint of leg pain and the amputation of his leg several days later, Merchant had twice refused to see a doctor, court records show. Federal court records said that several hours after arriving at a hospital on Feb. 7, 2016, doctors diagnosed a necrotizing fasciitis infection in Merchant's left leg and determined that an above-the-knee leg amputation was necessary to save his life.

The 9th Circuit upheld the summary judgement issued by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in favor of prison officials, which determined they were not deliberately indifferent to Merchantís medical needs based on procedural error in the original litigation.

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