Prisoner Dies in Prison After Medical Needs Are Ignored

Federal prosecutors say that a corrections officer and a nurse ignored a man’s major medical needs in a Virginia prison. The man died while they were in charge of him.

According to court papers, Bureau of Prisons Lt. Shronda Covington was told that W.W., who was 47, was eating out of a trash can, urinating on himself, and falling down the day before he died at the Federal Correctional Institution at Petersburg in Hopewell in January 2021.

An indictment says that instead, she lied to federal officials and said that on January 9, 2021, he was walking around his cell, doing push-ups, and listening to music.

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The indictment says that BOP registered nurse Tonya Farley also lied to federal investigators. She said that a jail psychologist told her that same day that the man was “malingering,” or making up an illness for his own gain.

Covington, 47, and Farley, 52, both of Chesterfield, were charged with violating the man’s civil rights on June 6 “by showing deliberate indifference to (his) serious medical needs, which led to his death,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a news release on June 7.

No information was released right away about whether or not they had a lawyer.

The man died on January 10, 2021, because of heart problems, according to reports that The Associated Press found. The records didn’t say what killed the person, the outlet says.

McClatchy News asked the BOP on June 8 if Covington and Farley still worked at FCI Petersburg, but they didn’t answer right away.

The Man Showed Signs of ‘Acute Discomfort’

On January 9, 2021, both Covington and Farley are charged with not making sure the man got the medical care he needed while they were on duty.

Prosecutors also said that Farley made up a story about his death in a report he wrote. Farley wrote in a BOP Clinical Encounter Report that the man showed “no signs or symptoms of ‘acute distress,'” even though Farley knew that the man was showing many signs of acute distress, the charge says.

She also wrote that he knew what was going on with his medical care, even though the accusation says he was “incoherent” and did not say he understood.

Farley is also accused of lying about talking to a doctor about the man’s medical needs.

Prosecutors say that Farley lied to investigators on April 4, 2014, when she said she had called a doctor about the man’s symptoms and care the day before he died. According to the indictment, she also lied when she said she didn’t take him to the hospital because the doctor wouldn’t let her and instead suggested she talk to the jail’s counselor.

The accusation also says that she lied when she said the psychologist told her that the man was making up his symptoms.

The accusation says that Covington also asked a corrections officer to lie in BOP records and say that she made rounds of the unit where the man’s cell was. She was also asked to lie about how he was acting on January 9, 2021.

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Prosecutors said that if Covington and Farley are found guilty of the civil rights charges against them, they could spend the rest of their lives in jail.

The jail is in Hopewell, which is about 20 miles south of Richmond.

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