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10-1775 Ortiz v. City of Chicago


10-1775 Ortiz v. City of Chicago


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Civil Rights
Due process; inadequate medical care

When a state actor detains a known diabetic in a facility that separates her from the drugs that keep her alive, it must take her medical needs into account in deciding what justifies a trip to the hospital.

“The defendants do not dispute that the Williams framework should guide our analysis, but they urge us to focus primarily on another consideration. In light of the inquiry we have just described, the defendants contend that the conduct of the officers should be viewed in light of the ‘short detention period’ that usually spans the time between arrest and the bond hearing. Since the detention period should not generally exceed 48 hours, see County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991), they contend that lockup keepers should not be required to whisk arrestees off to the hospital every time there is a complaint. We agree with the defendants that the relatively short period of time that a detainee spends in lockup is pertinent to the analysis. Some medical procedures are urgent, but many are not time-sensitive within a reasonable period. This general proposition, however, is not a license for lockup keepers to deny all arrestees all medical care simply because they will probably be transferred within 48 hours. To the contrary, ‘when the State takes a person into its custody and holds [her] there against [her] will, the Constitution imposes upon it a corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for [her] safety and general well-being.’
See DeShaney v. Winnebago Cnty. Dep’t of Soc. Serv., 489 U.S. 189, 199-200 (1989). Each state actor who encounters a detainee must reasonably respond to medical complaints; a detainee cannot be treated like a hot potato, to be passed along as quickly as possible to the next holder.”

Affirmed in part, and Reversed in part.

10-1775 Ortiz v. City of Chicago

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Grady, J., Wood, J.

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