Jail officers no longer watching comatose man
Saving the county $3,000 a day, Rockland officials got a comatose inmate released from custody on drug charges without bail. The decision allowed jail officials to remove correction officers from watching the inmate at Nyack Hospital after just one day and stopped the cost at $3,000.
Nathan G. Patnode of Vermont remains comatose today after trying to hang himself in his jail cell on Tuesday night, Sheriff James Kralik said.
The jail is required by law to watch any inmate in the hospital, Jail Chief William Clark said. The $3,000 daily cost pays for overtime for six officers across 24 hours. Kralik said the county paid for one day before getting a judge to release the man without bail.
Patnode was found with a bedsheet around his neck hanging from the bunk bed in his cell on Tuesday. A?correction officer found him and with the help of other officers cut him down. Patnode had been in jail since Sunday on felony drugs charges. He and another Vermont man were arrested Saturday by state troopers on the New York State Thruway in Clarkstown.
Who pays for Patnode’s hospital costs is another question. In the past, the bills went to the patient’s insurance company, family or the hospital.
In 1998, David Haylis remained hospitalized for more than eight months after trying to hang himself in the jail, with the county only paying for eight days when he was under the jails care.
In 2002, another inmate spent six months in the hospital after a suicide attempt, with the jail officers guarding him for a week.