Crime

J. Reuben Long gave limited medical care to inmate before his death, family says

A look inside the J. Reuben Long Detention Center

The J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County houses inmates soon after an arrest. There are 20 housing units in the facility that hold several hundred inmates.
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The J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County houses inmates soon after an arrest. There are 20 housing units in the facility that hold several hundred inmates.

Limited medical care at Horry County’s J. Reuben Long Detention Center led to a man’s death, his family claims.

Jimmy Lee Calloway died at the jail in August 2017, and on Thursday his family sued the county and the Horry County Sheriff’s Office. The suit was filed in Horry County court.

The family sued for wrongful death and served notice of a medical malpractice claim. South Carolina procedures require notification of intent to sue for medical malpractice months before the actual suit is filed.

Calloway was arrested and booked into J. Reuben Long on June 26, 2017. Medical staff performed a health screening, but failed to document Calloway’s “true physical or medical history,” the suit states. It also claims that Calloway did not receive a physical within two weeks, which is against state standards.

Over the next few weeks, Calloway complained of various issues, including a toothache and constant, debilitating lower back pain, the suit states.

The suit details the various treatments prescribed for Calloway and states a comprehensive medical history and physical were not documented when he first saw a doctor. Calloway at times had to be helped from bed because of his back pain.

On Aug. 15, 2017, Calloway again met with a doctor, who noted swelling in both of Calloway’s wrists, forearms and right ankle and foot. The doctor changed some of Calloway’s medications, according to the suit.

The next day, nurses went to Calloway’s cell to draw blood, but he was unresponsive, the suit states.

Calloway died from end-stage pulmonary emphysema complicated by underlying arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to the suit.

The Sheriff’s Office was neglect in several ways, including failing to properly oversee Calloway’s medical care, failing to make sure he saw a doctor immediately when needed and failing to train staff to recognize medical needs of detainees, the family alleges. The suit asks for an unspecified amount of money.

Horry County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Brooke Holden said it’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.
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