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Former inmate sues NM prison contractors

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

An Albuquerque man has filed a lawsuit alleging he did not receive proper medical treatment for a kidney injury while he was incarcerated and learned shortly after his release from prison that he had end-stage kidney failure.

Since his release, Daniel Peralta spends much of his time managing his kidney condition, which requires dialysis multiple times per week, according to his lawyer.

“He is going through the process of getting on the list for a kidney transplant,” attorney Jessica Hernandez said.

Peralta was imprisoned from 2013 until May 2017. He started out at a facility in Los Lunas, was later transferred to the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs and spent the last months of his sentence in Santa Fe at the Penitentiary of New Mexico.

In August 2016, at the LCCF, Peralta noticed intermittent swelling of his legs, face and genitals along with high blood pressure. He reported his symptoms to prison employees and asked for treatment. In October 2016, he was taken to a hospital in Hobbs where he was admitted with sepsis, the lawsuit contends.

Peralta was placed on IV antibiotics for five days and medical staff suspected he had a kidney injury which required follow-up care when he returned to the prison. That information was not shared with him, and instead his medical records were given to prison employees when he was taken back to the facility.

The lawsuit alleges Peralta did not receive follow-up care as an inmate and his condition worsened.

Upon his release in May 2017, he sought help at Health Care for the Homeless, where providers performed tests and after reviewing the results weeks later told him to go to the emergency room. Peralta was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure at Presbyterian Hospital.

Peralta’s lawsuit was filed July 19 in district court in Albuquerque against numerous defendants, including The GEO Group Inc., which operates one of the facilities where he lived during his sentence, and Corizon and Centurion, companies offering medical services in New Mexico prisons. The lawsuit alleges both Centurion and Corizon failed to provide Peralta with timely and appropriate care for his kidney injury. It also alleges GEO Group, which oversaw the LCCF, was reckless in its handling of Peralta’s medical records and requests for medical help.

While a GEO Group spokesman said he could not comment on pending litigation, he pointed out that medical services at GEO-managed facilities in New Mexico are “directly contracted to a third-party medical services provider by the New Mexico Corrections Department and GEO plays no role in the delivery of medical care.”

A spokeswoman for Corizon said that the company was not providing health care services at the facility at the time of the issues alleged in the lawsuit. She said the company’s contract ended there at the end of May 2016.