BSO’s boner: Inmate says five-day erection, impotence followed medication mistake

By William Gjebre, BrowardBulldog.org 

Broward County Jail

A former Broward County Jail inmate says he became impotent after he was forced to swallow a powerful anti-psychotic drug he wasn’t prescribed, then suffered a painful erection for five days before nurses and jailers finally responded to his pleas for help. 

A doctor eventually ordered Randon (Randy) P. Campbell rushed to the emergency room at Broward General Medical Center for treatment of priapism, a painful long-lasting erection. As a result of the medication errors and delay in treatment, Campbell was forced to undergo multiple surgeries and was later “diagnosed with permanent impotency,” court papers say. 

Court documents say that BSO correctional officers and a nurse laughed at Campbell after he sought help for the painful, unwanted and embarrassing condition that he attempted to hide by wearing his shirt untucked. The amused nurse allegedly told him to “work it off.” 

Campbell, 46, recently settled his 2008 lawsuit against Broward jail healthcare provider, Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. The terms are confidential, and the company’s lawyer declined comment. Now, Campbell is pressing on with a potentially big money civil action in circuit court against the Broward Sheriff’s Office. 

Sheriff Al Lamberti said the BSO will not settle. 

“Armor settled. We didn’t,” Lamberti said. “We don’t think we did anything wrong.” 

Attorneys for both sides – Daniel Harwin for Campbell and William Tucker Craig for BSO – declined comment. 

A judge refuses to dismiss 

Six weeks ago, in a parallel federal civil rights suit in Fort Lauderdale, Campbell’s case appeared to take a significant step forward when a judge denied BSO’s request to toss the case out of court. 

“The Court finds that it would be possible for a jury to conclude that Defendant acted with deliberate indifference in delaying plaintiff’s medical treatment,” U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch stated in his March 28 order. 

The federal case was set to be tried this week. But last week, for strategic reasons not explained in court papers, the two sides jointly agreed to dismiss that case. Instead, they will fight it out in state court. 

Court records outline the events surrounding the case. 

Campbell’s ordeal occurred while he was a pre-trial detainee in the county jail from August 1, 2005 through March 24, 2006. According to the BSO media relations office, Campbell was in jail for violating an injunction in a domestic violence case. 

A doctor had prescribed Campbell, then 40, to receive Clonidine (0.2 mg) daily for hypertension and Vistaril, as needed, for anxiety. Those were the only drugs he was prescribed to receive while in jail. 

On Dec. 1, 2005, however, Campbell’s nighttime medications included another drug, chlorpromazine, which is also known as Thorazine. Campbell immediately informed the nurse the medication was not intended for him. Nonetheless, he was ordered to take it by the nurse and a guard who are not identified in the complaint. 

Court records indicate the Thorazine was supposed to go to another inmate with the last name of Campbell. 

Shortly afterwards, Randon Campbell began feeling ill, describing dizziness and lightheadedness. 

The next day, Campbell awoke with an erection that lasted for five days. Priapism is both a known and common side effect of Thorazine, the lawsuit said. 

When the nurse handed out that morning’s medication, Campbell was again told to take the Thorazine. He gave the nurse a written note that had developed a sustained and painful erection, and, to explain his untucked shirt, informed guards. 

“The guards laughed and refused to alert the medical staff,” the lawsuit said. 

That evening, Campbell was again offered the Thorazine, but didn’t take it after finally convincing the nurse of the error. He wasn’t given it again. 

Still, Campbell’s painful erection continued. And despite his pain, and his repeated requests for help, no action was taken to provide him with appropriate care, the lawsuit said. Instead, nurses gave him Advil. 

Campbell “begged” for help 

Finally, on the afternoon of December 6, the pain had become unbearable. Campbell could no longer walk. He “begged” a guard to take him to the infirmary, the suit said. 

The guard agreed, and took him to Armor Correctional’s clinic where doctors quickly had Campbell transferred to Broward General. 

Emergency room doctors diagnosed priapism. Campbell underwent initial surgery and ultimately suffered from what the lawsuit calls “severe residual erectile dysfunction.” 

The state lawsuit against Armor alleged that its negligent care forced Campbell “to endure needless multiple and painful surgeries.” Specifically, it alleged that Armor administered “drugs that were not prescribed for him” and failed “to render timely medical attention and treatment for the side effects,” it said. 

Armor denied those accusations before the settlement. 

The presiding circuit judge in the state case is Mily Rodriguez-Powell. 

The federal lawsuit alleged BSO “deprived Campbell of his rights, privileges and /or immunities secured by the Constitution of the United State and Florida by denying him access to medical care.” 

BSO has denied any wrongdoing. 

Armor, based in Miami, has provided medical services to Broward County operated jails since 2004. Recently, Armor was a finalist to provide healthcare services to inmates at Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, but lost out to Prison Health Services, a Tennessee-based company. The Miami-Dade contract, being negotiated now by the parties, could run as long as 11 years. 

Dan Christensen contributed to this report. William Gjebre can be reached at wgjebre@browardbulldog.org

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  1. unique says:

    Armor Correctional Health Care hires nurses
    that have just graduated nursing school. Armor
    lets more experienced nurses go. These new
    nurses do not know what their medications are
    or the side effects. These nurses are just robots
    giving out medications. Also the deputies need
    to have the identification cards with them when
    they are with the nurse giving medications to make
    sure the right patient is the one getting the medication.
    A lot of the deputies just want to get the medication
    rounds over with so they can go on their 2 hour breaks.

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