HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A man who claims to have contracted a MRSA infection while he was a prisoner in the J. Reuben Long Detention Center has sued the Horry County Sheriff’s Office for negligence.
The lawsuit filed in Horry County Common Pleas Court says Roman Melton become ill at the jail following his arrest on June 9 by Myrtle Beach police on a domestic violence charge. The lawsuit claims that when he repeatedly told jail authorities about his symptoms they dismissed them as “just a sinus infection.”
The lawsuit claims he was given an antibiotic to relieve his “worsening nasal infection” and that jail officials refused to take him to a doctor or a hospital. According to the lawsuit, the infection caused “severe and painful nasal swelling, redness, facial pain, pressure in the sinuses, and pockets of pus and drainage.”
The lawsuit said Melton posted bail and went to Conway Medical Center on his own, more than a month after his arrest, on July 16, and that doctors there made a MRSA diagnosis. MRSA is a bacterial infection that can be fatal if not treated properly.
The lawsuit says Melton underwent nasal surgery and spent three days in the hospital but continued to suffer blurry vision and headaches. It also says that doctors told Melton that “had he been forced to stay in the Detention Center for any longer without appropriate medical care, his infection could have been fatal.”
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified punitive damages.
A sheriff’s office spokesperson said officials are not able to comment on the lawsuit.
“However, all inmates are medically screened upon arrival at J. Reuben Long Detention Center by a contracted medical provider,” spokesperson Brennan Cavanagh said. “They also have access to medical care throughout their stay.”
Mediko, a privately-owned company, contracts with Horry County to provide medical care for inmates, Cavanagh said. However, the company is not named in the lawsuit.