A 22-year-old kid from Washington who was locked up for smoking weed died in his jail cell after guards ignored his food allergies.
According to the New York Daily News, Michael Saffioti pleaded for help from his cell at Snohomish County Jail after eating oatmeal that triggered his fatal dairy allergy on July 2, 2012, but was ignored by guards until it was too late.
His family is claiming in a $10 million lawsuit against the county that Michael told guards about his condition many times, who insisted the food was safe to eat.
“Our theory is that they absolutely knew about Michael’s medical needs,” Cheryl Snow, an attorney for Saffioti’s mother, told local news station KIRO-7.
“We know that he asked questions and made inquiries and he was assured the oatmeal in the food was safe for eating,” she said.
Saffioti, from the Seattle suburb of Mukilteo, was fatally allergic to milk and suffered from severe asthma.
His family told the station that his allergy was so extreme that he often asked girls what they ate before kissing them.
One day before his death, Saffioti turned himself into Lynnwood police for failing to show up to court for being busted with pot.
Michael’s mother, Rose, said her son would use marijuana along with various other anti-anxiety medications to cope with the stress caused by his allergy.
He had been to Snohomish County several times before from abusing drugs as a teen.
According to the lawsuit, Saffioti was told he would be placed in the jail’s medical ward, where guards knew about his condition due to his previous stays.
Former inmates used to call Michael “Bubble Boy” because his food would always be wrapped in plastic to avoid cross-contamination.
This time, however, Michael was placed among the general population.
“He was scared,” his mother told The Associated Press last year. “I said, ‘You are doing the right thing. They are going to take care of you.’ He said, ‘I have a bad feeling that they are not going to take me seriously.’”
In the video broadcast on KIRO-7 taken from the jail, Saffioti is seen talking with guards while holding a tray of food.
He then joins other inmates at a table and digs into his oatmeal.
Minutes later, Michael is back at the guard’s desk, desperately taking hits from an inhaler.
He pleaded to see a nurse, the lawsuit says, but was sent to his cell instead.
The video shows Michael flailing around in his cell in a severe allergic reaction. He repeatedly hit his call button, but was ignored.
“This video shows Michael clearly made his needs apparent, that his needs were ignored,” Snow said.
“Once he suffered distress he was further ignored.”
A little over 30 minutes later, Michael was found unconscious in his cell.
Medical staff tried to resuscitate him, but Michael was pronounced dead later that day at Providence Regional Medical Center.
He died from bronchial asthma triggered by his milk allergy.
Rose filed the $10 million lawsuit in October claiming there was a “systemic failure to provide adequate medical care” to her son.
Categories: Police State/Civil Liberties