On Sunday, August 16, Tommy Britt would have turned 27 years old if he had not died after being denied medical help at the Hamilton County Jail. Tommy’s family filed a lawsuit over the lack of medical care and abuse he suffered at the Jail when he was there in November 2016. After a few days in jail, Tommy complained that he was not feeling well, he was having trouble breathing, his chest was hurting, and he felt like he was going to pass out. He asked for medical help and then collapsed. A medical emergency was called, and a sergeant and three nurses immediately responded. He begged to go to the hospital, but the staff refused. Instead, he was strapped down in a restraint chair for several hours. After his release from the restraint chair he was not medically evaluated again until days later when he was found in such critical condition that he was sent to the emergency room. He never recovered.

“People in jail deserve medical care, not punishment,” said Jennifer Branch, attorney for Tommy Britt’s family. “Tommy Britt had an infection in his heart that was destroying his aortic valve. His jailers knew he was suffering symptoms and that he begged them for help. But instead of treatment, they declared he was faking and strapped him in a restraint chair. He was essentially tortured,” explained Ms. Branch. “We brought this lawsuit to alert the Sheriff, who runs the jail, and the community, to the need to vastly improve the medical care at our jail. Tommy’s mother does not want one more parent to suffer as she has.”

“Things must change at the jail. My son suffered terribly at the jail. He pushed a button and asked for help. He did not get it. He got tortured in a restraint chair,” said Lisa Britt, mother of Tommy Britt. “This should not happen to anyone else.”

The lawsuit is pending decision on pretrial motions in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. No trial date is set yet.

Tommy Britt’s graduation photograph from Oak Hills High School in June 2012 is here.

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