With the second anniversary of the death of James Chasse approaching next Wednesday, September 17th, a number of actions are planned in commemoration.
Coincidentally, Chasse’s family filed an amended lawsuit against the city this morning, adding Mayor Tom Potter, Police Chief Rosie Sizer, and naming the two jail nurses, Patricia Gayman and Sokunthy Eath, and two paramedics, Tamara Hergert, and Kevin Stucker, who were on duty and allegedly failed to treat Mr.Chasse appropriately. Sizer and Potter are named for their role in creating policy that led to Chasse’s death. But to name the paramedics and jail nurses is an unusual step. You can download the 40 page .pdf by clicking HERE.
Reads the lawsuit, p.13:
AMR paramedics Hergert and Stucker were unreasonable and/or negligent with regard to Chasse’s serious medical needs, in one or more but not limited to the following ways:
a. By failing to take an adequate and complete history of the nature and cause of Chasse’s injuries;
b. By failing to determine the cause and mechanism of his injuries, including his cessation of breathing and unconsciousness;
c. By failing to perform a complete and thorough physical exam;
d. By failing to thoroughly assess Chasse’s respiratory status;
e. By failing to take adequate and accurate vital signs;
f. By failing to treat Chasse’s respiratory problem with supplemental oxygen;
g. By failing to determine the cause and to treat the condition causing blood to drain from Chasse’s mouth;
h. By failing to turn over the care of Chasse to a person of higher medical skill; and
i. By failing to follow the Multnomah County Emergency System protocols, as well as AMR’s own protocols, applicable to someone in Chasse’s condition.
The jail nurses are also mentioned on p.16:
Chasse was left on the floor of the cell, with the bloody “spit sock” still on his head covering his face. While lying on the floor, Chasse:
a. Moaned and cried out for help.
b. Stopped breathing and lapsed into unconsciousness;
c. Suffered repeated seizures; and
d. Continued to bleed from his mouth into the gauze “spit sock” covering his face.
Gayman and Eath at the jail were unreasonable, showed deliberate indifference to, and/or were negligent and further contributed to the worsening of Chasse’s condition and, ultimately, his tortured death, in one or more but not limited to the following ways:
[same reasons as the paramedics, a-h]
i. By failing to enter the cell and help Chasse when he stopped breathing, and then went into convulsions;
j. By failing to remove the blood-covered gauze “spit sock” from his head and face when they knew or should have known that the “spit sock” would make Chasse’s breathing even more difficult and would conceal his level of consciousness;
k. By not providing any emergency medical assistance;
l. By ignoring Chasse’s moans and cries of intense pain; and
m. By not immediately calling 911 and summoning paramedics to treat these life threatening conditions and transport Chasse to a hospital after he had again stopped breathing and begun convulsing.
But perhaps the most shocking part of the amended suit is this:
As of September 17, 2006, Portland, Sizer, Potter and other Portland officials had an unwritten, if not written, policy or well-established official practice of aggressively seeking to remove what they deemed “undesirable” innocent citizens, including those living with mental illness or otherwise deemed by defendant’s to be “less desirable” citizens, from Portland’s downtown, including the neighborhood where Chasse lived. At least in part, that unwritten, if not written, policy or well-established official practice of “cleaning up the streets” was deliberately indifferent to the rights of innocent citizens, including those living with mental illness or otherwise viewed as “undesirable” by defendants because of their appearances or behavior.
More as it comes over the coming days.