Police Department Infringes On Civil Rights Of Handicap Arrestee

    Civil Rights ExpertThis case involves a civil rights action against the police department of a major west coast city. A 32-year-old wheelchair bound plaintiff was arrested for drug-related charges in a local bar. The plaintiff had several pressure ulcers as a result of time spent in his wheelchair. Upon his arrest, the plaintiff was taken to the precinct, removed from his chair and placed on a wooden bench in a holding cell. The cell was not handicap accessible, and lacked cushions or grab bars. The plaintiff was not moved from the wooden bench for over 12 hours causing a shearing effect on his ulcers and the development of new ulcers. The plaintiff required several corrective surgeries.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. What is your experience in wound care, specifically treating patients with ulcers?
    • 2. How would you determine whether the treatment by the defendants resulted in the deterioration of the patient's ulcers?

    Expert Witness Response E-001279

    I am a critical care surgeon with an interest in wound healing. I have extensive experience with wound care as well as the management of decubitus ulcers. I care for many patients with complex wounds all over their bodies both traumatic and non-traumatic in nature. I have published numerous articles and research on wound healing. I am also the associate medical director of the injury and violence prevention program at a major university program. Unfortunately, patients with mobility issues are prone to the development of pressure ulcers so to speak. These can be very challenging to manage and at times become chronic in nature and in bad situations can even cause fulminant sepsis. Many of the reconstruction options available to these patients do not work because of continued pressure on the area or chronic infections which often are unable to be cleared. I am able to review this case and determine whether the care of this patient resulted in the development of the pressure on itself or worsening of his current ulcer.

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