An inmate whose heart stopped Wednesday while he was under medical care at the Erie County Holding Center has died in Buffalo General Medical Center.
Connell Burrell, 44, was the 26th Erie County inmate to die since Timothy B. Howard became sheriff in 2005 and took control of the Holding Center and the county Correctional Facility in Alden. The health care and mental health care provided at both facilities have been under the watch of federal monitors since the county settled a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit in 2011.
Howard's team did not immediately announce the death Friday. It was confirmed by two sources with direct knowledge of the matter, including one inside the jail who asked to remain unidentified because the source was not authorized to speak publicly.
On Thursday, a Howard spokesman said the inmate — whom he did not identify by name — had suffered a "medical emergency" in a bathroom area of the downtown jail Wednesday evening. The inmate was helped to his feet and walked on his own to the infirmary for further evaluation, the sheriff's spokesman said.
In the medical unit, however, the inmate "became unresponsive" at 10:37 p.m., the spokesman said in a statement. After performing CPR and using an AED defibrillator, medical personnel eventually detected a pulse, the statement said.
While the Sheriff's Office did not disclose the nature of the inmate's medical emergency, the ambulance personnel were called to the jail for an "unresponsive diabetic," according to scanner conversations archived by the website Broadcastify.
Neither the Sheriff's Office or the District Attorney's Office would say Friday why Burrell was in the Holding Center. The records in his criminal matter have been ordered sealed, a spokeswoman for District Attorney John J. Flynn said, so the office could not comment.
A second Holding Center inmate went into cardiac arrest and died in recent days. Inmate Joseph E. Bialaszewski's heart stopped July 24 and, after emergency surgery, he died July 26 in Buffalo General. His mother, Gail Bialaszewski, said doctors told her that the 29-year-old died of complications from a perforated ulcer.
As a matter of procedure, both deaths will be investigated by the Medical Review Board of the state Commission of Correction, the agency that regulates local jails in New York.