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Look, we know prison inmates don’t enjoy the same kind of freedoms as the rest of us. But when the commercial tells you to seek medical attention for an erection lasting more than four hours, and you seek that medical attention, you should get it, even if you’re incarcerated.

But according to a $5 million dollar lawsuit that looks like it’s about to settle, Oklahoma sheriff’s officers ignored one inmate’s pleas for medical attention for “unbearable pain” from a prolonged erection that lasted four days.

State of Arousal

Dustin Lance is suing Pittsburgh County and jail officials after they waited 91 hours to take him to a local hospital, and meeting his request for medical attention with mockery. Lance had been jailed on burglary and drug possession charges, and allegedly ingested an “unidentified pill” given to him by another inmate. He began complaining to the prison staff of “unbearable pain” the next day, but wasn’t taken to the hospital until three days later. Not that it did him much good — even though doctors at McAlester Regional Hospital recommended Lance see a urologist in Tulsa immediately, he was taken back to the county jail instead.

State of Litigation, and the State of the Litigant

Lance’s current condition is unknown, and his condition around the filing of his lawsuit seemed even less clear. County officials apparently filed a motion seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, on the grounds that the plaintiff was dead, but Lance’s attorney insisted that he was very much still alive. And the AP is reporting that a settlement conference has been scheduled in the case, indicating that the two sides may be close to reaching an agreement.

It’s not easy to sue jails or prisons for injuries sustained behind bars — prisons are inherently dangerous places, and prison officials are often granted immunity from legal liability for the decisions they make. In Lance’s case, however, it seems like he has a legitimate claim that prison employees ignored what was probably a very *ahem* obvious health problem for far too long.

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