Nassau jail inmate dies in custody

Posted: Updated:
EAST MEADOW -

A Nassau County jail inmate died in custody Saturday, and her attorney says the jail's health care provider is to blame for failing to provide the woman the blood pressure medications she needed to survive.

The inmate has been identified as 58-year-old Elizabeth Stenson, of Amityville. Stenson’s attorney says Armor, the facility’s medical provider, failed to give Stenson her blood pressure medication for multiple days following her arrest.

"From May 19 to May 23, she received no medication, no medical attention at all.  I had made a request on May 19 with the court and I made a second request on May 23," says William Kephart, Elizabeth Stenson's attorney.

Kephart says Stenson was found unresponsive in her cell at 5:30 a.m.  She was given CPR before being taken to nearby NUMC, but by then he says it was too late.

"She had other medical conditions that we wanted them to be aware of and treat. When you don't get blood medication for five days it doesn't end up very well,” says Kephart.

Stenson was facing murder charges after prosecutors said she hit and killed a bicyclist before crashing into a house and fatally injuring her passenger. 

Her death comes after a series of inmate deaths which have occurred while Armor has been under contract at the jail.  The State Commission of Correction has found its treatment deficient in at least five deaths.

Democratic Legislator Arnold Drucker says the GOP-controlled Rules Committee renewed the vendor's contract for a three-month period while a new provider is secured.

"The Mangano administration has left us between a rock and a hard place. We had no choice, approve it for three months, more money costing the taxpayers,” says Drucker.

A spokesperson for County Executive Ed Mangano responded to say that Drucker only has criticisms and no solutions. On the latest incident at the jail, the county attorney says they do not comment on pending litigation. 

Armor told News 12 in statement that because of HIPAA laws, it cannot disclose any specifics regarding a patient's medical matters without a waiver.

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