A man who lost five toes to diabetes while incarcerated at Arapahoe County jail has filed a lawsuit claiming the loss was caused by a lack of medical care.
The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that Correctional Healthcare Companies failed to properly provide medical treatment to James Neisler.
The Denver Post reported Saturday () that Neisler suffered a broken blister on his right big toe from ill-fitting boots worn while he worked in the kitchen. He says medical staff ignored a serious injury for a diabetic and waited a month last summer before taking him to a hospital.
He was in jail awaiting resolution of misdemeanor domestic violence and drunken driving charges. The domestic violence charge stemmed from a dispute at the burial of his dog Zoe, an Australian shepherd/malamute.
In a response to the lawsuit, Correctional Healthcare Companies claims others outside its control, including Neisler, may have contributed to the injury. Company officials did not return a call seeking comment.
Neisler first asked for help on July 20, 2013, according to the lawsuit. He was taken to the hospital on Aug. 22, 2013.
“My right big toe is bleeding, oozing and twice the size of my left big toe,” he wrote Aug. 12. Two days later, he wrote: “my toe is literally rotting now and smells awful. … I’m begging to be taken to a hospital or wound care clinic for it to be looked at … please take me.”
“I knew it was going south quickly,” he said of the experience. “My big toe was like a piece of beef jerky. It was past gangrene, all the way to bone infection.”
The infection had spread to his bone and doctors eventually removed all toes on his right foot to stem the infection.
Neisler, a 47-year-old former financial adviser said he no longer plays hoops with a son who is a basketball player or run long distance like he used to do with his daughter, who runs cross country.
“I could write 25 country songs about what happened,” said Neisler, of his plight while incarcerated in the same jail that held Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes. “I have to laugh, because otherwise I’d be crying all the time.”