LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– A mother is calling for answers after her daughter did not leave the city jail in Las Vegas alive.
Susan Tucci’s struggles with substance abuse landed her in and out of jail over the past decade, but in June of 2021, Tucci did not leave the city jail alive.
Susan’s mother, Barbara Tino, asked the 8 News Now I-Team to look into her daughter’s death.
In a video obtained by the I-Team, Tucci, 36, is shown having a seizure inside a jail cell. She is then shown facedown on the floor. Another inmate, who is not seen in the video, is later brought into the cell. It appears no one checked on Tucci for about two hours.
When staff did finally check on Tucci, life-saving measures were taken, but it was too late.
The Clark County Coroner reported that Tucci died of positional asphyxia associated with ethanol withdrawal, with contributing factors including methamphetamine use and congestive heart failure.
A report obtained by the I-Team pointed out that after Tucci had the seizure and while no one checked on her, Tucci was lying on the floor with her face and head in a toilet paper roll with a mask partially covering her mouth.
“I mean, you know her mom loved her, I mean that was one of her babies,” said attorney Mark Rouse. “You expect that anytime in life you’re going to be treated like a person.”
Rouse is representing Susan’s mother in a lawsuit filed against companies Wellpath and NaphCare, along with a nurse and nurse practitioner.
According to the lawsuit, NaphCare provides medical services inside the city jail, while Wellpath provides medical care inside the Clark County Detention Center.
Tucci was in custody at CCDC for a battery charge before she was brought to the city jail.
The lawsuit alleges negligence and wrongful death, stating that in both CCDC and the city jail Tucci was not properly screened and monitored. As a result, Tucci did not receive the proper medical care while she went through alcohol withdrawal, which ultimately killed her.
“In our country, once you obtain medical care you’re entitled to reasonable medical care,” said Rouse.
The I-Team has learned that Wellpath, CCDC’s medical provider, has faced many lawsuits in the past.
The Department of Justice referred to Wellpath as the largest provider of correctional healthcare services in the country. A 2021 DOJ report from an investigation at a California jail pointed to numerous failures by Wellpath. Wellpath’s founder is now in prison for corruption after he bribed a sheriff in Virginia to get business, according to authorities.
NaphCare, the city jail’s medical provider, has also faced numerous lawsuits just last year. The DOJ reported that NaphCare agreed to pay nearly $700,000 after the company was accused of submitting false healthcare claims to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Rouse said Tucci’s death is another failure by both companies.
“Susie was loved by her mother and her sister and they just want people to know that she was loved and they didn’t expect her to pass away like this,” Rouse said.
Rouse says so far he has been unable to obtain the video that the I-Team obtained through a public records request.
This story will be the first time he or anyone else from the public sees what really happened to Tucci.
Both Clark County and the city are declining to comment on the lawsuit. The I-Team also reached out to Wellpath and NaphCare, and no statements were provided.