The Pueblo Chieftan

Suit claims negligence in Bent County inmate’s death

DENVER — The mother of an inmate who died at the Bent County prison claims a Pueblo West physician and the company that runs the prison bear responsibility for the death.

The physician, David Oba, received a letter of admonition in December from the Colorado Medical Board telling him that his treatment of the inmate “fell below the generally accepted standards of practice.”

Oba and the company, Corrections Corporation of America, deny the allegations made in a lawsuit against them by Terrell Griswold’s mother. He died in 2010 at the Bent County Correctional Facility where Oba was a physician for the privately operated prison.

Prison staff and Colorado Department of Corrections employees are additional defendants who also deny the allegations. The lawsuit is in its early stage in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Griswold, 25, died because he was denied adequate medical care at the prison. It also alleges DOC employees destroyed and falsified evidence, and conspired with prison staff to cover up the true cause of his death.

His mother, Lagalia Afola, contends he died from complications of a complete urinary obstruction. Oba began treating Griswold for urinary issues months before he died. Afola alleges, among other things, that prison staff refused for many months to provide medicine Oba prescribed for her son and the doctor did nothing about it.

Corrections Corporation, prison employees and Oba contend Griswold died of cardiovascular disease.

The medical board’s admonition of Oba stated he “failed to recognize and take appropriate action in connection with signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease.”

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