HONOLULU (KHNL) - A former Halawa prison inmate, who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the state, was awarded nearly $933,000 in damages Thursday. Gregory Slingluff says the facility's medical staff didn't provide proper care for an infection he had while he was incarcerated in 2003.
The plaintiff's attorney says the former prisoner suffered tremendous pain and is now infertile because the infection wasn't taken care of right away. The details of the case may be disturbing to some.
Gregory Slingluff is no longer incarcerated, but the memories of his time at the Halawa High-Security Correctional Facility for a drug offense remain fresh and painful.
"From a prison inmate to a multi-millionaire, everybody is equal under the law and is treated the same," Richard Turbin, plaintiff's attorney, said.
But during a four-day civil trial, Slingluff said he repeatedly complained about pain from his infected scrotum and, at one point, threatened to hang himself if he didn't get medical attention.
A judge determines a prison doctor did prescribe an antibiotic, but it was the wrong medication and not the correct dosage.
"His scrotum is described as grossly swollen, the size of a very large grapefruit," Victoria Marks, Circuit judge, said as she went over her findings. "It's draining. The plaintiff is pale. He appears in severe pain."
Slingluff's attorney says the scrotal abscess -- or collection of pus -- had grown to the size of a melon by the time the prisoner was taken to the Queen's Medical Center.
"If he had been transferred to Queen's earlier, he could have avoided the amputation of his scrotal sack," Marks read.
He underwent six surgeries, lost his scrotum, became infertile and is no longer producing the same amount of male testosterone.
"How to put a number on that is very difficult," Marks said.
The judge awards Slingluff $632,900 for future medical costs and the loss of future earnings, and $300,000 for pain and suffering.
"The state in this case could have saved a lot of money if they just followed their own rules and protocols," Turbin said.
Turbin says Slingluff faces four more surgeries for reconstruction, but will never regain his fertility and normal testosterone production.