Man dies after cops refuse to let him take heart transplant meds while jailed on misdemeanor: report
Bars Prison Jail - Dan

A heart transplant recipient died after Florida jailers refused to let him take medication that kept his body from rejecting the organ two days after he was arrested over a dispute with his neighbor over wireless internet, according to a report.

Dexter Barry had waited 12 years for a new heart before finally getting a transplant in 2020, but went without his life-sustaining medication after a misdemeanor arrest for assault due to an argument with his neighbor over payment for a shared wi-fi account, reported The Tributary.

The 54-year-old Barry, who had remained calm during the arrest, told the officer he took heart transplant medication and requested a wheelchair, but no other medical notes were made in police records. Duval County jails allow outside drugs to taken in the case of rare or expensive life-sustaining medications with a verified prescription.

“The police officer could’ve gone inside and got his medication,” said son Dexter Barry Jr. “This man is telling you, my heart needs those meds. A two-minute walk would’ve saved his life.”

An expert with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, under which the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is accredited, said police and jailers had a constitutional duty to care for Barry.

Barry had been held for only two days when his body rejected his new heart. It's not clear whether he was seen by a nurse after his booking because the jail declined to release his medical records.

“Records from jail will likely show they made a note of it,” said civil rights attorney Andrew Bonderud, who's representing Barry's family.

“JSO recognized it’s an extremely expensive medication and how disgusting if it turns out that this was a business decision for the JSO, that they would rather not pay for the medication. They would rather risk death over a business decision. It’s one of the most outrageous cases I’ve ever seen in this city of JSO misconduct.”