Family of deceased inmate, feds settle for $975K

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Timothy U. Bell knew something wasn't right with the sore, swollen spot near his right armpit. Then he spent more than 18 months trying to get the attention of the administration of the Big Sandy federal prison in eastern Kentucky to arrange an appointment with a doctor.

"I still don't know what it is and it's getting bigger, it's starting to hurt more, its more irritating than ever, it keeps me up throughout the night (because I can't sleep with the pain), and I'm scared," Bell wrote to warden J.C. Zuercher in July 2009.

The growth proved to be non-Hodgkin lymphoma — a cancer spread through the body via the lymph nodes. Bell didn't get a CT scan on the mass in his arm until the cancer was in the late stages. He died in 2010, a year after being released from prison. Now, his family in Michigan and the federal government have reached a $975,000 settlement over negligence claims related to the case.

"He deserved better," said Bell's attorney, Sheila Hiestand of Louisville. "By the time he died, he was just a small, skeletal thing."  More