MIAMI -- A supervising guard at a juvenile jail told a dying teen to "suck it up" as the boy retched, wept and moaned from stomach pain, evidence given to a grand jury shows.
Some guards tried to get help for 17-year-old Omar Paisley before he died of a burst appendix, the records show, but their supervisors and jail nurses believed he was faking or exaggerating.
"Ain't nothing wrong with his ass," one nurse said, according to seven boxes of documents examined by The Miami Herald for a story published Friday.
Paisley's death last June has led to an overhaul at the state Department of Juvenile Justice, including the removal of three top officials, and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges against nurses Gaile Loperfido and Dianne Demeritte. They are accused of failing to treat Paisley and falsifying records. They have pleaded innocent.
Attorneys for the nurses did not immediately return phone calls.
Paisley had been in 226-bed jail for just a day for cutting a neighbor with a soda can when he began complaining that he was ill, writing in a request to see a doctor, "My stomach hurts really bad. I don't know what to do."
Loperfido visited him that afternoon and diagnosed him with a stomach virus, the documents say. Guards say they never saw her touch his abdomen for signs of appendicitis.
The next day, Paisley was again visited by Loperfido, who ordered that he remain on bed rest and a liquid diet, but guards said she again failed to examine him.
That afternoon, Paisley was sweating heavily and had trouble talking. He vomited, and fellow inmates cleaned up the mess.
The next morning, Paisley was desperately ill. Guard Michael Johnson told investigators he tried repeatedly to get help from a supervisor or a nurse, as required by the jail's rules.
Guard Classy McCollough said she heard Johnson telling his boss, "Man, someone needs to get down here because this kid is sick."
Johnson "was upset, and he was fussing, and was using other choice words," McCollough told investigators. She said a supervisor yelled at her when she sought help for Paisley.
The supervisor, Jack Harrington, eventually did come to see Paisley, who tapped on his cell's glass to get Harrington's attention. Harrington said he told Paisley that he had a stomach virus and that nurses said he couldn't come out because he would infect the other inmates.
"I told him he had to suck it up and walk around, to wait another day or so," Harrington told investigators.
That afternoon, guard Terry Mixon said that when he arrived for work, Johnson and a group of inmates both said Paisley was very ill.
Mixon said that he found the teen lying in his cell, sweating profusely. Paisley's clothes and cell were covered with diarrhea and urine and he was grabbing his stomach, softly saying that it hurt.
Mixon moved Paisley to a chair and had two inmates clean his cell. Paisley again asked to see a doctor. He was put back in his cell.
Mixon called Demeritte, the nurse on duty, telling her she needed to come see Paisley. He also started calling his supervisors, requesting medical attention for the teen.
More than two hours later, Mixon again called Demeritte, who asked him what was wrong with Paisley.
"How in the hell (should) I know?" he says he replied. "All I know is something is wrong with him. And she stated, 'I'm coming down there, but I don't want to take this (mess) home to my kid."
Demeritte arrived about 10 minutes later and told Paisley to walk out of his cell, even though he barely had the strength to stand, Mixon said.
She took his temperature and then said "Ain't nothing wrong with his ass. Let his ass go back in the room," according to Mixon. Then she left.
After Demeritte spoke to a supervisor, she completed paperwork to transfer Paisley to the hospital. She then went on a 45-minute break.
When guards and supervisors came to get Paisley, they found him slumped in a chair. They tried to stir him and then move him to a wheelchair. When they picked him up, brown, foul-smelling fluids drained from his body.
They put him on the ground, but no one tried to resuscitate him because the first aid kit was missing a CPR mask.
By the time paramedics arrived, Paisley was dead. (AP)
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