Severe Allergic Reaction Kills Young Man Arrested For Cannabis Possession After One Night In Jail
EVERETT, Wash. - A 22-year-old man with a severe dairy allergy was arrested for cannabis possession and died in Snohomish County Jail after only being there one night. He suffered an allergic reaction to a bowl of oatmeal he ate, unaware there was milk in it and was then refused help from the guards as he had an asthma attack because the guards thought he was fabricating the reaction and making it up.
Michael Saffioti died in jail on July 2earlier this year. Thursday, the medical examiner's office released that Saffioti did in fact die from bronchial asthma brought on by his dairy allergy. Rose Saffioti, his mother, is now pressing involuntary manslaughter charges against the jail workers who could have prevented his death.
Michael has dealt with the severe allergy his entire life. Always prepared for a deadly reaction he would carry medication with him wherever he went. Sometimes just being near dairy protein would trigger an allergic reaction. The stress of having an asthma attack made him dependent on anxiety medication.
"Ultimately, he found and thought that he was better functioning using marijuana," his mother said.
Michael did not have a medical prescription for marijuana and had a few run-ins with the law because of that. After accidentally missing a court date, his mother encouraged him to go turn himself in, thinking it was the best thing to do to prevent arrest. Michael went to the courthouse, prepared with evidence of his medical history, but was arrested anyway.
After informing officials about his severe allergies and providing them with the medications he would need in the case of a reaction, he thought he would be placed in the medical unit of the jail. However, he was placed with the general population and his medical needs were ignored.
Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said it would not comment on what happened or the potential lawsuit until the investigation is complete.
This story was filed and written by KHQ's Nichole Mischke. Email her at Nichole.Kiefer@KHQ.com.
What do you think should happen to the prison guards who ignored Michael's medical needs?
Is this a situation where the Snohomish County Jail should be held responsible for not fully communicating Michael's medical needs?
Or should it solely be the responsibility of the guards, as they should always take every medical situation seriously?
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