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Family files federal lawsuit against Harris County in son's meningitis death

Patrick Green, 27, died of meningitis while jail inmate

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Patrick Green, 27, was so ill his lips turned blue and he couldn't eat or report to work in jail, according to his parents.

A federal lawsuit filed by his parents, Kathyrn and David Green, contends he was left without medical care for two days after contracting bacterial meningitis in jail and died on March 24, 2015, just a few minutes shy of his 28th birthday.

“I wasn't asking that he be transferred to the Mayo Clinic or anything, just check on him and provide a basic level of care that could have saved his life,” Kathyrn Green said at a press conference Monday.

The lawsuit contends that attempts by fellow inmates to get him medical attention were ignored, and that guards that saw him lying alone on the bunk in his cell never checked on him.

According to the lawsuit, Green began showing symptoms “at least” by Sunday, March 22, 2015, but wasn't transported to Ben Taub Hospital until March 24, where he was pronounced dead at 11:59 p.m., just minutes before his 28th birthday.

Green was allegedly living in agony for days in the jail, which was described as full of dirt and filth.

Green graduated from Baylor University where he was co-captain of the tennis team and played in the band. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in film and digital media.

But he struggled with heroin addiction and was jailed in 2014 for a probation violation according to his parents.

Kathyrn Green said he kicked drugs in jail and was beginning to turn his life around.

“Patrick had accepted the consequence of his actions and he was moving on with his life, and for days he was motionless on his bunk and nobody checked on him.”she said.

David Green says they didn't learn their son was ill until a deputy called to inform them he'd passed away.

“We did not even know about Patrick's death until the early morning hours, many hours after he died and many many hours after he'd been taken to the hospital, we were not even notified,” David Green said.

The Greens say they filed the lawsuit the hope the of sparing other inmates who may face a preventable death and sparing their parents the heartache they've had to endure.

"How the third-largest jail in the United States gets away with violating inmates' constitutional right to adequate health care is beyond belief," said Randall Kallinen, a civil rights attorney who is representing the family. "The United States Department of Justice needs to step up its regulation of the Harris County Jail to prevent more tragic deaths."

From 2009 to 2015, 70 inmates at the Harris County Jail have died, according to the Houston Chronicle.

In a yearlong investigation in 2009, the DOJ concluded that inmates' constitutional protections had been violated by excessive violence, which led to an "alarming" number of prisoner deaths.

Six supervisors were fired and 29 jailers were suspended and demoted in 2015 by then-Sheriff Adrian Garcia for neglect involving a mentally disturbed inmate.

An inspection of the jail found that inmate Terry Goodwin had been left unattended for weeks in a cell with bug-infested food containers and a feces-clogged toilet.

Two of the six fired supervisors were indicted for falsifying jail logs indicating that Goodwin was in good condition, according to a press release.