COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A former north Georgia inmate who was told she was faking an illness is now in a vegetative state and the State of Georgia is paying up.
Mollieann Fischer went into the Arrandale State Prison vomiting and complaining of dizziness.
But two days into her stay, the inmate was deemed a liar. Prison guards said she was not really sick.
“Mollie Fisher, ID number 895680, is refusing to get up and walk to SMU,” a guard reported as a body camera recorded. “She’s feigning an illness.”
Fischer’s gown was cut open and a group of guards were seen visibly frustrated in the footage.
“We cannot carry you!” one guard yelled to Fischer. “Put your feet down!”
“Stand up, Inmate. Stand up!” a supervisor yelled at the same time.
“OK, OK,” Fischer said in a weak voice, as her breasts began to fall out of her gown.
“We don’t have a minute. Stand up!” was the next command.
The May 2014 footage is what led to last week’s $1.5 million settlement, the largest prison settlement in Georgia in the last decade.
Fischer, 43, is now in a vegetative state and under 24-hour care by her parents in north Georgia.
The treatment at Arrendale State Prison led to a series of medical mishaps between two state prisons and a hospital in fewer than two months.
It ended with Fischer’s current state and the massive settlement in federal court that will help her parents care for her in the years to come.
Fischer was originally in the Rabun County Jail and transferred to Arrendale for a probation violation charge. It tied back to writing bad checks.
When she arrived, she complained of sickness. The body camera video showed guards yelling for her to stand up before they lifted her onto a rolling cart and moved her into a solitary cell.
Despite records showing medical staff had checked in on her, Fischer was found on the ground in a horrible state two days later, her parents’ attorneys said.
"She's defecated on herself. She's soiled herself. She's found completely unresponsive," attorney Michael Perez told Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr.
As Fischer was transferred to a hospital, ill with pneumonia, pancreatitis and renal failure, among other ailments, she fell into a coma.
Perez said she “miraculously” overcame that coma, but instead of heading home into her family’s care, she was transferred to the Pulaski State Prison.
“(They’re) insisting that she remain in the system under her care and then failing her every step of the way,” said attorney Lyle Warshauer.
That’s where she should have been given blood thinners, the family said.
“Dr. (Yvon) Nazaire, who is a physician at that facility, says that he knows she’s at a high risk for a blood clot yet he did not take any measures to prevent it and of course within a couple of weeks she has (a) blood clot that moves to her lungs,” Perez explained.
Fischer fell into another coma. Pulmonary embolism led to her current, vegetative state.
With this summer’s settlement, the family’s legal team hopes the state takes a hard look at staff training in Georgia’s prison system.
“If folks think about that and prevent another tragedy like this from happening by doing what they are hired to do, then that will make a difference,” Warshauer said.
The state Department of Corrections has not responded to comments about the settlement, but the physician at the center of Fischer’s Pulaski State Prison care is also the subject of the state’s $2.5 million worth of negligence settlements.
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