Records confirm man did not receive heart transplant medicine in Duval County Jail. He died days later

Dexter Barry, 54, died a few days after being released

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Records from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office confirm a Jacksonville man did not receive any doses of an essential medication while at the Duval County Jail on a misdemeanor charge in November. After spending a weekend in jail, Dexter Barry, 54, died a few days after being released.

The records also reveal jailers knew about the prescription, which was required to keep his body from rejecting his heart transplant.

MORE: Man dies after going days in Duval County jail without medication, family says

According to Duke Health, if anti-rejection medications are stopped, rejection can occur quickly and can result in a permanent decline in heart function and death.

“My surgery cost me $4 million,” Barry is heard telling an officer in body camera video from his arrest. “I had a heart pump first, and I had a transplant.”

Barry was charged with simple assault on Nov. 18, 2022. He was accused of verbally threatening his neighbor in a dispute over Wi-Fi. The charge was a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 60 days.

The video of Barry’s arrest shows he told the officer about his transplant or his medicine seven times throughout the course of his arrest.

“I can’t miss no doses,” he told the arresting officer.

But he did miss doses, for days.

Jail records show Barry had a medical screening at the jail the day he was booked. His heart transplant and medications were noted, including his prescription for Mycophenolate, which is an immunosuppressant used to keep a patient’s body from rejecting an organ transplant. His health appointment was described as “urgent,” however, a log of medications Barry received at the jail over more than two days shows he never received the Mycophenolate drug that protected his heart.

“How do you give him blood pressure and cholesterol meds, but don’t give him the most important meds of all?” asked Barry’s daughter, Janelle King. “That’s my only question. And we all know now that my dad’s rejection meds were the most expensive meds he took. So all this can be about is money.”

Barry had dreams of becoming a grandparent.

“The fact that my father is not here, and I’m trying to have a baby soon, it’s really gut-wrenching to me,” King said.

Attorney Andrew Bonderud, who represents Barry’s family, said he waited five months for the public records he requested from JSO that prove Barry never got his medication in jail. He said the records were released to him the morning after the I-TEAM’s initial story on Barry was published.

“I want to get answers because I think the City of Jacksonville, the people who live here, and the people who run the city need to be educated about exactly what’s going on at the jail,” Bonderud said.

A spokesperson for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said they can’t comment on Barry’s situation because of pending litigation.

The I-TEAM has also reached out for comment to Armor Correctional Health Services, which is the parent company of the contractor that provides healthcare to inmates here at the jail.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter