Charleston County Detention Center Faces Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Seven month after she passed away while incarcerated at the Charleston County Detention Center, Joyce Curnell’s family has announced their intention to file a medical malpractice case against the medical staff who was responsible for her health at the time.

1122Curnell had only been an inmate at the Charleston County Detention Center for a day before passing away. Apparently, Curnell was at a hospital when her son learned a warrant for her arrest related to a shoplifting charge had been issued. He contacted the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and alerted them to her location.

Hospital documents and jail records indicated that Curnell was admitted to Roper St. France hospital for stomach pains. After examining her, doctors issued a diagnosis of hypertension and gastroenteritis. At about the same time, her son, Javon Curnell, was on the phone with the sheriff’s department.

As soon as the hospital discharged Curnell, she was taken into custody and transported to the jail. Records indicate that she was booked at 2:30 p.m. July 21, 2015.

Lawsuit form with a stethoscopeThough the discharge papers from the hospital listed clear instructions for Curnell’s medical care, the personal injury lawyer handling the case states that the staff at the correctional facility ignored them. The family’s attorneys state that Curnell continued to vomit the entire time she was incarcerated, while the sheriff’s office says she in the morning of July 22, and after that didn’t complain.

The facility’s medical staff checked on her at 2:00 p.m. July 22, 2015. Three hours later, she was in her cell and unresponsive.

An autopsy was done on Curnell which revealed her cause of death to be both natural and connected to her flu diagnosis. Her attorneys said that if the jail staff had taken the steps to make sure she was kept dehydrated and treated for alcohol withdrawal, she’d still be alive today.

Stephen Corson says, “It’s not okay and we have to draw the line and say ‘this stops here; we won’t tolerate this anymore.’ We as a community need to show that our voices matter.”


Stephen Corson doesn’t want Curnell’s death to be in vain and has organized a walk in her honor. “We need to get beyond pointless deaths, pointless murders at the hands of the people that are meant to protect us. To keep our community safe. It’s hard to trust those people when they do things like this.”

“I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak the family must be feeling right now,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of Myrtle Beach’s top personal injury firm. “I’m certain that when her son contacted the authorities he thought that he was doing what was best for both his mother and the community. To have it end like this … it’s tragic.”

If you were hurt as the results of someone else’s actions, your entitled to have any financial demands placed on you as a result of the incident resolved via a personal injury civil lawsuit. To learn more, contact Joe and Martin for further assistance.


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