Aloha jail inmate dies at Tuality Hospital
Authorities say an inmate at the Washington County Jail died Saturday, June 1, after reportedly refusing treatment for a medical condition the day before, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Monty Lewis, 51, of Aloha was rushed to Tuality Community Hospital, 335 S.E. Eighth Ave. at noon, June 1, from the jail. He died several hours later.
Lewis was arrested Friday, May 31 by Hillsboro police officers on a charge of domestic harassment. Few details have been released, but according to Sgt. Eric Bunday with the Hillsboro Police Department, Lewis was arrested after getting into a domestic altercation with a man in the 7500 block of Tualatin Valley Highway, where he allegedly slapped the man's face.
Lewis was arrested without incident but reportedly complained of illness when he arrived at the jail.
Jail staff initially refused to book Lewis in the jail because he was "exhibiting signs of distress" from medical condition.
Sgt. Danny DiPietro, a Washington County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Lewis underwent a standard medical evaluation before being admitted to the jail, and jail staff found he was not healthy enough to be booked.
"That evaluation is common," DiPietro said. "The jail said, 'No, take him to the hospital.'"
The jail did not say what medical condition Lewis was experiencing, but jail staff reportedly told officers the man needed to be examined at a hospital before he could be processed into the jail.
Lewis was taken to Tuality Community Hospital, but reportedly refused medical treatment.
"He has that right," DiPietro said. "And that's what happened here."
He was returned to the jail and booked.
The following day, at about 11:20 a.m., Lewis told jail staff that he was still not feeling well. The jail is staffed with medical personnel 24 hours a day, who realized that the man was "declining from his medical condition" according to the sheriff's office.
Lewis was rushed to Tuality Hospital by ambulance. He died several hours later.
DiPietro said the jail would be conductive an administrative review, to ensure that department policies and procedures were followed.
Typically, the death of an inmate triggers an investigation by an outside agency, but because Lewis died at a hospital from a known medical condition, an investigation is not needed.
"This was what we refer to as an 'attended death,' DiPietro said. "Meaning someone passed away in the care of a medical facility."
Lewis' death comes a year after a federal judge awarded $10 million to a North Portland family to a North Portland family after their daughter, Madaline Pitkin, died in the jail in 2014 from heroin withdrawals. Her family sued the county and its former medical provider, Corizon Health, alleging she has asked for help several times before her death.
In the years since Pitkin's death, the county has changed it medical care providers has reportedly changed the way it treats medical issues and inmate healthcare inside the jail.
By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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