Breaking News
More () »

Family files suit in teen's death at Fulton County Jail, alleging medical neglect

Tyrique Tookes, 18, died while in custody in 2019.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — (Editor's note: The video above this story is related to a separate case from 2019.)

A family filed suit this month in an 18-year-old's death in the Fulton County Jail, alleging medical neglect caused his death days after he complained of chest pains.

Tyrique Tookes, the teen, died while in custody in the jail in 2019. 

The lawsuit says Tookes was in jail for roughly six weeks, after being booked on March 8, 2019, when on April 27 that year he "began to complain of chest tightness with constant intense aching pain rated 10/10 on pain scale and aggravated by laying down, palpating chest and worse after eating."

RELATED: Covered in feces, man died of dehydration in Georgia jail 'that looks like a friggin horse stall'

A physician's assistant at the jail, employed by a private correctional facility healthcare company called NaphCare, diagnosed "possible heart burn" according to the suit and recommended Ibuprofen, Tums, ice packs and fluids. The physician's assistant also recommended a follow-up if symptoms worsened in 3-5 days.

The suit says no M.D. or other kind of supervisor signed off on the assessment.

Over the next four days, the suit says jail records indicate Tookes was given compresses and antacids, and that a scheduled follow-up appointment was "canceled on release" even though the teenager had not been released.

The next two days, May 2-3, Tookes was not seen or evaluated by any healthcare worker at the jail, and on May 4 was "found unresponsive in his lower bunk bed by security staff. It was noted that his pupils were fixed, no pulse, muscle stiffed and non-moveable and his skin was cold to touch."

He was pronounced dead after security and medical staff attempted CPR.

RELATED: 'Believe them': A multi part investigation into deaths at the Cobb County Jail

"On autopsy there was no evidence of injuries and toxicology was negative. Cause of death was listed as Cardiac Tamponade due to ruptured ascending aorta," the suit states.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine's website describes cardiac tamponade as "pressure on the heart that occurs when blood or fluid builds up in the space between the heart muscle and the outer covering sac of the heart."

It "prevents the heart ventricles from expanding fully" and "as a result, the body does not get enough blood."

The suit names more than a dozen defendants, many of them the healthcare professionals employed by NaphCare at the jail facility. The Fulton County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail, is not named as a defendant.

The sheriff's office said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the case was turned over to then-Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard's Office in September 2019, and is "still open."

Before You Leave, Check This Out