TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A federal lawsuit claims the Tuscaloosa County Jail staff ignored an inmate's ulcer, which allegedly led to his death.
The family for 49-year-old Phillip Anderson never thought they would still be fighting to get some sort of justice for their loved one who died in the custody of the county, nearly two years ago.
"And had he received care from an emergency room physician then he would still be here," said Kid Coates Anderson's sister.
And according to one doctor that specializes in ulcers and another experienced in corrections medical care Anderson's sister Kim Coates is right.
The report states if medical staff at the Tuscaloosa County Jail acknowledged the symptoms of ulcers and listened to Phillip's complaints and taken him to an ER, he might have survived.
In the lawsuit, it states jailers and medical staff constantly checked on Anderson at the jail, before to an outside hospital.
Witness statements from inmates recall when Anderson became unconscious days after expressing and showing signs of illness.
In the lawsuit, it said he later died.
"In an inmate's arms, in a urine-stained floor," said Vernon Anderson his brother.
Anderson's family said no one as of yet has apologized for his death.
"Dragging this out with no closure, you know I can't even stand to drive by that jail," said Coates.
Coates describes Phillip as a loving, giving person, who she thinks would want her to see this through, for the sake of other inmates.
"In their procedures, some changes need to be made and that's what our fight is all about. that's new now is medical experts are weighing in," said Coates.
The attorney representing Phillip Anderson's family said jail staff "rejected or belittled Mr. Anderson's constant begging for medical attention."
The lawsuit said Anderson was jailed for a week in February 2015 for missing a child support hearing that he allegedly wasn't notified about. The suit also claims that when he was booked into the jail, Anderson told jail personnel about his medical conditions and needed medications.
Other inmates tried to care for Anderson as best they could and event contacted his family to alert them of his situation. But the lawsuit says when Anderson's family called the jail to ask about him, staff told them Anderson was "just fine and had no health or other problems."
Tuscaloosa Sheriff Ron Abernathy, jail staff and others are named in the lawsuit.
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy said although they're saddened by the family's loss, he stands by the fact that the jail medical staff did all they could.
A trial date for this case has been set for April 16 of next year.