Ivan Watts

Ivan Watts

A Madison Circuit Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss a suit against Southern Health Partners Inc. filed by a Madison County inmate who claims he failed to receive proper medical care while jailed in 2015.

The ruling, made Jan. 4 by Judge William Clouse, was the second denying Southern Health Partners' request for summary judgement in the case, filed by Ivan Curtis Watts. After the first denial, attorneys for the healthcare company filed a motion to reconsider, stating they had failed to address all their arguments at the hearing held on the first motion.

In his answer to the request for reconsideration, Watts' attorney, Elliot C. Miller of Lexington, stated such a request rehashing the same legal and factual arguments already addressed is not permitted by the rules of procedure in Kentucky.

Watts' suit claims deficiency in care he received while an inmate resulted in his being admitted to the intensive care unit at Baptist Health Richmond, suffering from metabolic encephatlopathy (abnormalities of the water, electrolytes, vitamins and other chemicals that adversely affect brain function), hyperosmolar state (a complication of diabetes mellitus), loss of eight to 12 liters of bodily fluid, severe dehydration, diabetic ketoacidosis, draining perirectal abscess, MRSA, sepsis, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure.

Miller stated he has found more information about Watts' treatment since the filing of the suit, from depositions.

"This was much more egregious than our complaint shows," Miller said.

The suit originally named Madison County jailer Doug Thomas and several deputy jailers as defendants, but the claims were dismissed by Judge Clouse, who said there was no evidence the jail staff had failed to perform their duty to notify medical personnel of Watts' medical complaints.

The case against Southern Health Partners is scheduled for trial beginning March 12 in Madison Circuit Court.

The Madison County Fiscal Court voted Tuesday to renew the county's contract with Southern Health Partners through the end of June.

The court voted in October to extend the contract only through the end of January after the healthcare company announced an increase in cost of more than $88,000 per year. However, Thomas told the fiscal court on Tuesday that the company had reduced costs by more than $36,000 annually. The company, which had been keeping nursing staff at the jail 16 hours per day, will now provide on-site services 12 hours per day.

Judge-executive Reagan Taylor said in October the county would look into other options. On Tuesday, Taylor said no less expensive options had been found.

Watts was an inmate at the jail between March 2, 2015, and Sept. 25, 2016. He has been booked into the jail twice since, and is currently in custody charged with attempted murder. He was booked into the facility in May 2017.

Reach Kelly McKinney at 624-6626. Follow her on Twitter @kellymckinney18.

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