Former inmate awarded $983K in malpractice suit

Published On: Jan 03 2014 11:29:49 AM HST   Updated On: Jan 03 2014 11:47:04 AM HST

Ten years ago at the Halawa Correctional Facility, an inmate complained to a prison doctor of scrotal pain because of an infection, but nothing was done.

Within two days, his scrotum swelled to the size of a grapefruit.

Doctors prescribed antibiotics and a painkiller, but it wasn't enough.

Four days after Gregory Slingluff originally spoke up, his scrotum ballooned to the size of a melon.  Both the sac and part of his testicles had to be removed.

Ten years later, his attorney says Slingluff is out of prison and finally doing better.

Click here to watch Brenton Awa's report.

"He has to be very careful lifting and carrying.  He can't do the physical labor that he used to be able to do," said attorney Richard Turbin.

Slingluff sued the state for malpractice and, on Dec. 31, the Intermediate Court of Appeals decided in his favor, awarding him $983,000.

"What the State of Hawaii was claiming in this case was that their doctors do not have the same duty as every other doctor in the State of Hawaii to comply with the standard of care," said Turbin.

Turbin says the ruling also benefits those not incarcerated because it keeps all doctors in check when it comes to committing malpractice.

"Now doctors are going to have to be a lot more careful.  As careful as a doctor in private practice to provide competent medical services to Hawaii's prisoners," said Turbin.

There have been lawsuits against prison doctors in the past, but this is the first to make it to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.  Turbin says the decision will have a lasting impact in Hawaii.

"It really protects the people of Hawaii from malpractice," said Turbin.


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