JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County jail healthcare provider accused of wrongdoing following the death of a former Duval County inmate is now contending the inmate didn’t die because he missed critical doses of medicine while locked up.
In a lengthy statement to News4JAX on Tuesday, Armor Correctional Healthcare Services also said the inmate’s medication was ordered, but didn’t arrive in time.
Dexter Barry, 54, died days after not receiving medication in jail that served to keep his body from rejecting his heart transplant.
Armor Health’s chief operating officer sent a statement through a spokesperson Tuesday that detailed how long it takes to get that anti-rejection medication and also responded to the allegations about the cause of Barry’s death.
“Regarding specific medication that is prescribed for transplant patients, that medication was ordered and takes 48 hours at a minimum to be located and an additional 8 – 12 hours to to be received by the jail and then administered,” said Armor Health COO Manuel Fernandez. “By the time that highly specialized medication was available, the individual was released from custody.”
Barry’s family and attorney said Barry took his anti-rejection medication three times a day. That means in the time he was in jail in November of last year, he would have missed a minimum of five doses.
Barry was arrested on a misdemeanor on a Friday, accused of verbally threatening his neighbor, and released on Sunday, according to JSO records; however, his jail medical records show he was released on Monday. That Wednesday, Barry died.
Barry’s death certificate, provided by an attorney for his family, showed he died of natural causes and noted his heart flatlined. Before that, the death certificate says, he’d had a heart transplant and congestive heart failure. It also notes chronic kidney disease was a contributing factor, but didn’t cause his death.
An autopsy commissioned by Barry’s family shows the cause of death was cardiac arrest, most probably due to a severe autoimmune reaction to his heart.
“As a general pathologist I do not feel qualified to give a professional opinion as to the effect of discontinuation of the anti-immune therapy to this patient for 2-3 days,” the doctor performing the autopsy noted.
“In reviewing the autopsy shared with us by WJXT, and after consulting with noted transplant surgeons and outside medical experts, we noted that the patient had a number of other clinical issues. These other clinical issues were likely to contribute to the cause of his passing. Furthermore, the autopsy itself noted that the findings were inconsistent with an acute or hyperacute rejection,” Armor Health said in a statement. “Regarding allegations that Armor did not dispense any medication due to cost-saving measures we vehemently deny those allegations and take issue with those statements. Armor Health does not benefit in any way, financially or otherwise, from not ordering or not dispensing medication.”
Armor’s $98-million contract with JSO shows it paid for medications at the jail up to a certain amount, and JSO reimburses them for anything that goes over that cap.
The company’s statement also said it remains open to assisting with the ongoing investigation into the circumstances around Barry’s passing.
Andrew Bonderud, who is an attorney representing Barry’s family, says the autopsy speaks for itself. He also said another doctor advised that Barry did die because he missed doses.