On November 18, 2022, Dexter Barry, a 54-year-old heart transplant recipient, was taken to Duval County Jail in Florida. Less than a week later, he passed away. Newly obtained records from the sheriff’s office reveal that Barry did not receive any doses of the essential medication he needed while he was in custody.
In the police video, Dexter Barry can be heard telling the arresting officer about his transplant and the essential anti-rejection medication he needed for it seven times throughout the course of his arrest. He had waited more than two years to receive the new heart. Barry’s family says that he spent days in jail without the medication he needed to survive before he bonded out on Nov. 20. He went to the hospital the next day, where he died three days later. His death certificate shows his heart stopped.
Barry’s daughter, Janelle King, says he dreamed of becoming a grandparent, but his life was cut short due to the negligence of the jail authorities. “The fact that my father’s not here, and I’m trying to have a baby soon, it’s really gut-wrenching to me,” she said.
Records released by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office show that Dexter Barry had a medical screening at the jail the day he was booked. His heart transplant and medications were noted, including his prescription for mycophenolate, an immunosuppressant used to keep a patient’s body from rejecting an organ transplant. His health appointment was described as urgent. However, a log of medications Barry received at the jail over more than two days shows he never received the drug that protected his heart.
“How do you give him blood pressure and cholesterol meds but don’t give him the most important meds of all? That’s my only question. And we all know now that my dad’s rejection meds were the most expensive meds he took, so all this can be about is money,” King said.
Andrew Bonderud, the attorney representing Barry’s family, says he waited five months for the records that show Barry never got his medication while in jail. He further stated that the family plans to file a lawsuit, and the city of Jacksonville needs to be educated about what is going on at the jail.
Barry was arrested on a charge of simple assault after he and his neighbor had a dispute over the Wi-Fi. If convicted, he could have faced a maximum of 60 days in jail. However, he lost his life due to the negligence of the authorities at the jail.
This tragic incident highlights the importance of providing proper medical attention to incarcerated individuals. It also raises questions about the quality of healthcare provided to inmates in correctional facilities and the level of accountability for medical professionals who work in these environments. The case of Dexter Barry should serve as a wake-up call to authorities to ensure that inmates receive the necessary medical attention and care they need to survive. No one should lose their life due to inadequate healthcare in jail.