Jail nurse charged with involuntary manslaughter in patient's death

A grand jury has indicted Deborah Sue Damron, 56, of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient at an adult detention center in Virginia, according to the Henry County (Va.) Sheriff's Office.

On Aug. 6, the patient informed deputies he was having trouble breathing and soon became unconscious. Medical staff performed CPR and used an AED on the patient before he was transported to Sovah Health Martinsville (Va.), where he was pronounced dead. A medical examiner determined his cause of death was "acute fentanyl toxicity with adrenal crisis due to congenital adrenal hyperplasia contributing," a March 23 news release from the sheriff's office said. 

Investigators allege that a lack of proper care also contributed to his death. Police cited video evidence showing that Ms. Damron, the on-duty nurse, did not perform required medical checks on the patient. She also allegedly falsified the patient's medical records to reflect rounds and vital checks she never performed. 

Ms. Damron was working for Wellpath, the nation's largest for-profit healthcare provider for correctional facilities, at the time of the patient's death. She was charged with involuntary manslaughter March 20 and arrested in Kentucky on March 22. She is awaiting extradition to Virginia, the release said. 

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