Inmate Sylvia Manuel, 63, Died In Custody After Medical Emergency At Carrizalez-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center In Brownsville
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (October 18, 2023) - A 63-year-old woman identified as Sylvia Manuel has tragically died after a medical emergency while staying at the Carrizalez-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center.
Cameron County officials are saying that the incident began in the morning on July 25. Correctional officers found Sylvia Manuel unconscious in her single cell.
Jail and medical staff entered the cell in order to begin life-saving measures. Despite those efforts, she could not be revived and was later pronounce dead.
A preliminary autopsy revealed that Sylvia Manuel died due to a ruptured myocardial infarction, which is commonly referred to as a heart attack. An investigation into the in custody death at the Carrizalez-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center remains ongoing.
Liability For Cameron County Inmate Deaths
There has been a sharp uptick in the number of in-custody deaths across Texas in recent years. According to KFDX, “Nexstar analyzed each report of the 135 deaths inside TDCJ prisons. Custodial death reports from the Texas Attorney General’s Office show at least 51 people appear to have died suddenly in uncontrolled circumstances, based on data and descriptions provided in those reports.” There are many common causes of in-custody deaths.
- Physical Altercations: Inmates are sometimes killed or seriously injured in attacks from other inmates. It is also common for inmates to die due to the excessive force of correctional officers.
- Medical Conditions: Individuals enter the prison system with a variety of pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma. These can be worsened by jail conditions and lead to medical emergencies.
- Drug Intoxication: Inmates may enter the jail system after ingesting dangerous drugs. It is also common for inmates to gain access to illicit drugs that are smuggled in. Fentanyl, in particular, has been involved in a disproportionate number of overdose deaths.
- Medical Neglect: Every inmate has a unique set of medical needs. This could include needing certain medications. When those medical needs are not met, this could easily contribute to a death.
All jails have a legal obligation to provide inmates with reasonably adequate care. Certain inmates may only need occasional checkups while others may need care for chronic health conditions. It is essential that jails understand the unique health profile of each inmate that they care for. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are many ways that jail medical neglect could contribute to a heart attack.
- If a person in custody is experiencing symptoms of a heart condition such as chest pain or shortness of breath, jail staff should take immediate action. Any delay in care can increase the odds of a heart attack.
- Inmates with heart conditions may require specific medications to reduce their risk of a heart attack. Failure to provide needed medication can be considered neglect.
- Inmates with heart conditions should receive regular monitoring. Neglecting these routine checks can lead to a worsening of heart-related issues.
- A lack of adequate medical staffing can also put inmates with certain medical conditions at risk.
Medical neglect in jails can have serious consequences. Part of the problem is that jails often outsource the medical care that inmates receive to private corporations. These companies are primarily concerned with making a profit. Providing constitutionally adequate medical care is not always a top priority. The family of any inmate that dies in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Carrizalez-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Sylvia Manuel. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There are still so many questions that need to be answered. Was she being properly monitored? Was she being given the correct medications? It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent similar incidents.
Do you need more information about an inmate death at the Carrizalez-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center in Brownsville? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. We understand how difficult it can be to get information after any person dies in custody. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any in custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.