St. Louis County Jail Sued after inmate dies of treatable leukemia

A St. Louis Country prison was recently targeted in a lawsuit after a young inmate died of treatable leukemia on his own.

A 20-year-old inmate died of survivable leukemia last year in a St. Louis Country prison after allegedly seeking “help from staff who refused to let him see a doctor.” The civil rights suit was filed by Tashonda Troupe against the county and several prison workers. Troupe is the mother of the late inmate Lamar Catchings.

Lady Justice; Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm, via

The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Missouri of the U.S. District Court, arguing that his health deteriorated after Catchings jailed on April 17, 2018 and that he died on February 28, 2019. A later autopsy revealed that he had died of leukemia, which, if properly treated, usually has a 90 percent survival rate. The complaint quoted Yale University oncologist Steven Gore on mortality from acute promyelocyte leukemia, which is believed to have killed Catchings. Gore said, “Death from disease was incomprehensible and should never happen.”

The lawsuit goes on to claim that the county jail’s health system is so disorganized that it “lacks adequate medical supervision by nurses and doctors.” The lawsuit continues:

“The Defendant St. Louis County was aware of the grave and apparent deficiencies in its prison policies and the training of prison staff, including guidelines and training on the provision of health and medical care to its detainees.”

Commenting on her son’s death at a vigil in August 2019, Troupe said her son had a treatable disease. All he had to do was “get the medical care they asked for,” and he would be alive today with his family. What happened?

According to the lawsuit, Catchings was seen by nurses “three times for a few minutes after asking for help in February 2019”. At the time he vomited and lost his ability to walk. Two days before he died, a nurse said, “There is nothing wrong with him. He is a [expletive] Forger, ”says the suit. In addition, another prison worker reportedly told Catchings to “grow up” even though his health continued to deteriorate.

The suit further argues that staff at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center “admitted that he was sick because they gave him Tylenol, brought him food, and carried him or rolled him around in a wheelchair”. Tragically, he was left alone, without proper care, to die alone in his cell. When he was found the day after his death, his body was already showing signs of severe contagion. The suit states:

“Mr. The catches ultimately died alone in his cell and from a condition the St. Louis County Medical Examiner later reported was fully diagnosable by a routine prison blood test.”


The inmate died of leukemia after asking for help

After the prisoner asked for help to file a federal lawsuit, he died

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