Scott County jail settlement: $12.2 million for neglected inmate

Scott County is paying a man $12.2 million for neglecting his worsening health while he was in the county jail.

Terrance Winborn walked into the jail, but he couldn’t walk out 39 hours later.

Winborn leads a complicated life these days. He kept his arms out of sight for most of a Wednesday press conference, but his attorneys shared a video showing the difficulty of living with his mechanical arm.

"It’s really frustrating going back and forth," he explained as he changed out the mechanism.

Doctors amputated both of Winborn’s arms after his short stay at the Scott County Jail in August 2020.

"It's something wouldn’t nobody want to go through, you know, and I really can't explain it because there's so many times that I thought I was going to pass away," Winborn said.

He had vomited when he went to court the morning after he was booked into jail, hours after he had sobered up. His attorneys say if he’d gotten help at that point, medical experts believe he’d still have both arms.

He also wouldn’t have had a heart attack or a stroke.

Instead, his condition got progressively worse. Correctional officers called nurses about his medical condition a couple of times over the next 30 hours, but they didn’t send him to a hospital until he was gasping for air with an incredibly high blood pressure, and no feeling in one hand.

Even then, they didn’t call an ambulance.

It took about 45 minutes for an officer to take Winborn to a hospital three miles away.

"That deliberate indifference allowed a bacterial infection to run rampant within his body, leading to a heart attack, lesions, septic shock, gangrene, a bilateral transradial amputation, and a host of other devastating and permanent injuries," said attorney Katie Bennett of Robins Kaplan.

The State Department of Corrections previously found the Scott County Jail in violation of state laws for monitoring inmates.

Attorneys for Winborn say what happened to him resulted from the jail’s lack of accountability and attempts to cut costs on medical care.

The $12.2 million settlement Scott County is paying Winborn includes about $2 million in medical bills he’s already incurred.

It doesn’t include any forced changes to how the jail handles inmates who need medical care.

"So hopefully the amount and hearing from Mr. Winborn will be the force behind change," said attorney Andy Noel, also of Robins Kaplan.

County commissioners approved the settlement Tuesday night, but their only comment Wednesday came from their attorney who told me they’re hopeful this gives Mr. Winborn the medical care and quality of life assistance he needs.