Medication is blamed for death
The family of an inmate who died Wednesday at Oahu Community Correctional Center is alleging he appeared to be in a stupor when they visited and suspects he died from being improperly medicated.
Inmate Charles Goldberger, 39, suffered from schizophrenia and was being treated for his condition at OCCC, said his family's lawyer, Victor Bakke.
His family said Goldberger appeared so doped up over the weekend he could not speak or walk, Bakke said.
He was in custody for 10 days at OCCC, Bakke said. "Instead of being treated and medicated at the hospital, he was treated at OCCC."
Goldberger was having difficulty breathing at 11:53 a.m. Wednesday, and the prison medical staff was immediately alerted, said spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy. He was taken by ambulance at 12:28 p.m. to Kuakini Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m.
Kim McCoy said OCCC did not notify police because it was clearly a medical call -- not an assault situation or one with suspicious circumstances. Bakke said police are investigating the case.
The Medical Examiner's Office is awaiting test results before determining the cause of death.
Goldberger was on probation for second-degree sexual assault, and his probation had been revoked, Kim McCoy said. Bakke, who did not handle the sexual assault case, said it involved another patient in a psychiatric treatment facility. Goldberger was sentenced to five years' probation in 2003.
His probation was revoked because he failed to take his prescription medication, Bakke said. Goldberger was arrested and incarcerated at OCCC awaiting a hearing, he said.
Bakke was attempting to get him transferred to the State Hospital.
Goldberger went to court Tuesday, and a judge said he would order a mental evaluation by a three-member panel.
"Wednesday morning I was expecting to get a call that he could be transferred," Bakke said. "Instead, they said he was dead."