County pays $88,490 for bill for inmate who died at RRMC

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2008

From staff reports

Payment of an $88,489.78 medical bill to River Region Medical Center for medical expenses incurred by a county prisoner was approved by Warren County supervisors Thursday.

The patient was a pre-trial detainee awaiting charges of murder, county administrator John Smith told the board.

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Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace and Board Attorney Paul Winfield declined to identify the prisoner, but Solomon “Dewey” Harris, a Vicksburg man awaiting trial for murder, died last month at River Region Medical Center after being hospitalized.

An autopsy later confirmed Harris died of a rare allergic reaction, according to Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey.

Harris was taken to the hospital from the Issaquena County Correctional Facility, where he had been since May because of overcrowding at the Warren County Jail. The Issaquena jail is among the facilities that house overflow inmates from Vicksburg on a per-diem basis.

“For any inmate that is hospitalized, the county has to bear the financial burden of the treatment of that inmate,” Pace said.

Mitochondrial disease highlighted this week

This week, the third full week of September, has been declared Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week in a resolution signed by Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi.

Mitochondria are power producers in cells. When they fail to function correctly, many maladies may follow. Symptoms, including low blood counts, blindness, deafness or dementia, are common to other ailments and often result in misdiagnosis. Estimates are 1 in 4,000 children in the United States will exhibit a mitochondrial disorder by the age of 10.

The Senate resolution encourages parents and the state Department of Health to be more alert to mitochondrial disorders.