Jail nurses ignored dying man’s calls for help | Now there’s a call for criminal investigation
Nurses are seen playing computer games and sitting around as a man collapses multiple times and begs for help.
COBB COUNTY, Ga. — An expert with more than 20 years of experience managing correctional medical infirmaries believes nurses allowed an Atlanta man to needlessly die from a treatable condition while in jail custody.
On Monday, an 11Alive Reveal investigation exposed video of Kevil Wingo detained inside the Cobb County Detention Center in September 2019. He’s repeatedly heard by staff screaming he could not breathe, while deputies and medical personnel did little about it.
For more than seven hours on September 29, the 36-year-old father of three complained about abdominal pain and an ulcer. He begged staff to send him to the hospital. Instead, deputies and nurses sent him to a padded isolation room, where he was found not breathing an hour later.
When Claire Teske first saw video of Wingo begging for help, she felt confident he was not faking his pain.
“This guy was a walking time bomb and they put him in a cell and left him there. That’s pretty disturbing,” said Teske, a registered nurse with 40 years of experience, half of it while managing multiple medical units inside California county jails.
11Alive asked Teske to review Wingo’s medical records, jail video and interviews related to his death.
Examining Medical Staff Response
Just before midnight on September 28, jail video shows Deputy Quintin Appleby transferred Wingo to the infirmary in a wheelchair. Wingo told Appleby he believed an ulcer was to blame. “He was saying, ‘I’m not going to make it. I’m about to fall out the wheelchair,’” said Appleby.
The deputy then relayed the information to the infirmary nurses, who believed Wingo was detoxing.
Teske said that was the first sign Wingo needed immediate help.
“I can tell you that if that man had come in front of me in the infirmary, I would have probably had somebody take his vitals. I would have checked him, but I would have called an ambulance. I would have sent him out right then,” said Teske.
At the time, the jail’s infirmary was run and staffed by WellStar Health System, based out of Marietta, Georgia.
While watching the video, two other issues caught Teske’s eye. She saw a nurse playing card games on the computer for hours while Wingo pleaded for help. She also noticed none of the medical staff responded to Wingo when he collapsed outside his cell, lying on the ground for nine minutes before a deputy picked him up.