‘I don’t wanna die in here’: Current OK Co. Detention Center inmate claims bed bugs eating him alive, calling whole facility negligent
OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. ( KFOR )- A current Oklahoma County Detention Center inmate has been behind bars for a total of 21 days now, but says he’s been having alarming medical issues that are a result of bed bug bites since day two.
45-year-old Jason Sheffield was booked into the detention center on November 10 on one count of aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs.
According to an incident report, Sheffield was arrested by the Oklahoma City PD Street Narcotics Unit near Santa Fe with three large plastic bags in the trunk of his vehicle.
The plastic bags which contained a white crystal substance tested positive for Methamphetamine and approximately weighed 4.5lbs.LOCAL NEWS: Representative files bill to prevent gender affirming care for Oklahomans under 21
Sheffield has been in contact with his girlfriend, Darlene Kaup since his incarceration.
They’ve spoken over the phone and through an authorized video chat.
The two spoke on the phone earlier this week in which Sheffield explained he understands why he’s behind bars and takes full responsibility for his crime.
However, he doesn’t believe his incarceration makes him any less of a human being.
“We’re being treated like we’re no longer human beings. Our civil and human rights are being violated in this place,” said Sheffield.
On November 11, Sheffield said he woke up in his cell with “really bad hives” and “lesions” all over his left arm and elbow.
Sheffield claims since day two, his medical condition has only gotten worse.
He said the hives traveled to his right arm, covered his fingers, and stretched up to his neck.
Sheffield described his skin condition as “intact half dollar sized lesions,” saying each one was so painful he couldn’t touch the skin around it.
He also said his hands and wrist couldn’t function normally because of it.
“So I hit the medical emergency number [the phone in his cell]. It took them about an hour to an hour and 45 minutes to come and get me,” said Sheffield.
News 4 requested Sheffield’s medical records from the detention center.
Sheffield signed a HIPPA release form and the medical records were in our inbox November 22.
Sheffield said the Oklahoma County Detention Center Jail Administrator, Greg Williams pulled him into his office to have him sign the release form, but didn’t do so without an argument.LOCAL NEWS: CDC reports 70 additional COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma
According to Sheffield, Williams questioned why News 4 was requesting a HIPPA release form and was confrontational with him.
Eventually, Sheffield said Williams allowed him to sign it.
The few days following Sheffield’s signing of the form, he said he wasn’t given his medication.
The Oklahoma County Detention Center Communications Director, Mark Opgrande told News 4 in a statement, “Staff has been attentive to his needs and strive to provide the best care.”
According to Sheffield’s medical records, he was treated several times between Nov. 10 and 22.
Sheffield is reported to have brought up the concern of a rash, swelling, or numbness to his body at least six times in that time frame.
His medical records showing medical personnel could visibly see a rash on Sheffield’s body.
Records also show he was given medication each time.
However, Kaup told KFOR with each medical visit, she saw him only getting worse.
Kaup said he wouldn’t get better unless the issue at hand was taken care of: bed bugs in his cell.
“He got bites from head to toe. And then it turned into some kind of allergic reaction and started getting blisters and bumps all over his body,” she explained.
Kaup stated in the year her and Sheffield have been dating, she has never seen him have an allergic reaction.
Sheffield also reported zero known allergies to detention center medical staff, according to records.
Kaup added she has called the detention center multiple times requesting a wellness check, but she was never given any updates despite being listed as Sheffield’s emergency contact.
She’s afraid to continuing calling the detention center though as she fears it’ll make life harder for Sheffield.
“Very, very stressful. I’m extremely worried about him and the way, when he tells me how they treat him, or should I say don’t treat him. I’m very fearful of his life,” said Kaup.
Opgrande said the detention center has inspected Sheffield’s cell in which bed bugs were not found.
The detention center claims they did spray down Sheffield’s cell just in case though.
The detention center reports having spent $26,000 so far from July to December on prevention and treatment.
The detention center is 13 floors high with approximately 1,200 cells.
“The facility has been sprayed top to bottom in the past two-and-a-half years,” stated Opgrande.
In those two-and-a-half years though, News 4 has spoken with former inmates who have shared their bed bug experience.
One even went as far as to mail his girlfriend an envelope filled with bed bugs back in November 2021.
Both Sheffield and Kaup have stressed that 15 inmates have died in the detention center this year, so they’re worried he’ll be number 16.
“I don’t wanna die in here,” said Sheffield.
Sheffield says he is hoping medical staff will be held accountable for their negligence and the detention center will be held accountable for mistreatment.
“It needs to be exposed. That’s why we’re doing this,” said Sheffield.
Opgrande told KFOR the detention center will continue to monitor Sheffield’s situation.
In the meantime, Kaup is considering taking legal action.
Sheffield’s bond has been set to $100,000.
His preliminary hearing will be December 20 at 9 a.m.Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.