CORPUS CHRISTI -- A wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court Monday claims the Nueces County sheriff and the jail's medical staff ignored a doctor's recommendation that an inmate be transferred to a mental health facility shortly before his death nearly two years ago.
Gregory Cheek, 29, died in February 2010 hours after jail guards found him unresponsive in his cell. Court papers said Cheek suffered from several mental conditions, including: bipolar disorder, psychotic episodes, schizophrenia, delusions and hallucinations.
The lawsuit, which was filed by his parents Catherine and Gilmer, claims Sheriff Jim Kaelin, Dr. Daniela Badea-Mic, Dr. Gilberto Maldonado, physicians assistant Suzan Salter and healthcare provider NaphCare "...knew Gregory suffered from a serious mental illness..." and "...negligently and intentionally failed to transfer Gregory to a [mental health] facility..." despite Dr. Maldonado's recommendation to the contrary.
Gregory died of cardiac and respiratory arrest hours after jail employees found him unconscious in his cell.
In their lawsuit, Cheek's parents claim the jail's "...medical staff delayed and moved Gregory to the jail's infirmary for further evaluation," before taking him to the hospital where he later died.
Neither Cheek's parents nor Sheriff Kaelin could be reached for comment.