Lawsuit over ex-Westmoreland County inmate's blindness moves to federal court
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A lawsuit filed by a man who claimed that he lost the sight in one eye due to poor medical care in the Westmoreland County Prison was transferred to federal court today.
Samuel P. Sethman, 33, of Ruffsdale, sued Westmorlend County, its prison health contractor NaphCare Inc. and six employees of the two entities in September in that county's court of common pleas.
His attorney, Victor H. Pribanic, filed the complaint on his behalf Dec. 21.
According to the complaint, Mr. Sethman was jailed in October 2010 for a parole violation stemming from a 2005 drunk driving conviction.
He had what appeared to be an eye infection and repeatedly requested treatment and a visit with a doctor from Oct. 28 through Nov. 30, 2010, according to the complaint.
He received some medication -- but not enough, according to the complaint.
He was eventually diagnosed with iritis and treated, but too late, according to the complaint.
"Subsequent to his release, Mr. Sethman discovered that his right eye was permanently blind," according to the complaint.
The treatment constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and Mr. Sethman demanded compensatory and punitive damages, according tot he lawsuit.
An attorney for NaphCare moved the case to federal court, saying it raises questions of Constitutional law.
Naphcare's attorney could not be reached for immediate comment.
First Published January 18, 2013 12:29 pm