AS I LAY DYING frontman Tim Lambesis, who is serving a six-year prison sentence for trying to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife, filed a lawsuit last year against a California medical team alleging that he was not given a prescribed medication for nearly two months prior to his incarceration, resulting in him developing gynecomastia (enlarged breasts).
In May 2014, Lambesis was given a six-year prison sentence without probation for his role in the murder-for-hire plot. He later requested to have his prison sentence reduced by the amount of time served while under "house arrest" as he awaited sentencing, but that request was ultimately denied.
In a complaint originally filed in June 2015 — and amended in March 2016 — Lambesis wrote: "On May 16, 2014, I, Timothy Peter Lambesis, was present at the Superior Court of the State of Califonia, County of San Diego, located at 325 S. Melrose Dr., Vista, CA 92081, making an appearance at my respective sentencing hearing.
"I carried my prescription on my person while in attendance at the aforementioned sentencing hearing. Subsequent judgment pronounced and sentencing, I was escorted by Court bailiffs to the San Diego County, Vista Detention Facility (hereinafter "VDF"),located at 325 S. Melrose Dr., Vista, CA 92083.
"Upon my admittance to VDF, I was procedurally medically cleared by VDF Nurse Mary Abiaro. I immediately handed Abiaro my prescription. Abiaro took my prescription and informed me: VDF does not customarily stock anastrozole; a VDF doctor would have to order my prescription.
"I immediately explained to Abiaro the reasoning, necessity, and urgency of my receiving anastrozole immediately.
"I educated Abiaro, articulating why I had been prescribed anastrozole by my private physician prior incarceration: I had been self-administering large doses of anabolic steroids long-term; and, as a preventative measure, to combat adverse side-effects — i.e., 'gynecomastia' (male breast development) from occurring — consequent my respective anabolic steroid withdrawal — I must be administered anastrozole — one dose a day for thirty consecutive days effective immediately.
"Abiaro expressly confirmed that I would be scheduled to visit with a VDF doctor as soon as possible.
"Abiaro did not log my prescription into my respective medical records. Consequently, this very gross negligence prevented my prescription from being effected thus inadvertently denying me adequate medical treatment for my predisposed condition, i.e., major hormonal imbalance.
"On or about May 21, 2014, I was transferred from VDF to San Diego County, George Bailey Detention Facility (hereinafter 'GBDF'),located at 446 Alta Rd., San Diego, CA 92158.
"On May 25, 2014, I met with GBDF 'Doctor' (first name unknown) Pace concerning my prescription and corresponding anabolic steroid withdrawal medical condition. I reiterated to Pace the immediacy of my need to have my prescription filled. Expounding my having not received my medication for ten days, I expressed to Pace the exponential terror I was experiencing as I contemplated the very potentials of my suffering male breast development.
"My fears of developing unsightly, altogether hideous, male mammaries; and, to augment my fright, the horror stories of documented clinical studies finding painful sensitivity associated with gynecomastic symptoms. I pondered severe panics at the ruin of my career as a stage performer — what, with the advent of, less than marketable, male breasts. I even considered the potential of painful songwriting sessions as my guitar brushes against my chest. My image, my very star, felt the gloom of imminent doom. To augment my fright: the exacting chemical exchange of the hormonal imbalance itself.
"Pace affirmed to me the risks of leaving my medical condition untreated; though, Pace explicitly expressed purposeful callous regarding my concerns of being prone to breast development and the painful sensitivity associated with male breast enlargement. Pace malevolently exclaimed, 'I (Pace) could care less about your breasts;' and, satisfied with this malicious prognosis, Pace proceeded to laugh at my disposition. Pace then curtly dismissed me from the doctor's office.
"Pace discharged me into a disconcert of considerable emotional distress. I sought recourse through further 'Inmate Medical Request' form submission. The mental anguish of my Greek god-likened physique locked in a paradox of medically predisposed possibilities — e.g., ultra-sensitive, tender hardened, inflamed, grotesque male mammaries — grew to an anxiety filled of fitful sleep, restless nights, (gynecomastic-themed) nightmares, insomnia. I proceeded to spend my days in severe depression. I also experienced panic attacks at the inexorable anticipations of my developing breasts.
"On or about June 10, 2014, my very fears evinced themselves upon my physique in the first palpable formings of, painfully sensitive, breast enlargement. Panic striken — at these initial signs of gynecomastia, I began to physically shake uncontrollably; shivering with battling anxiety and depression. Such chronic anxiety caused me to compulsively rub and scratch myself excessively and upon unusual places of my person.
"On or about July 10, 2014, I noticed my breasts ceased enlargening; having attained gynecomastic maturation, that is, fully formed male mammaries, respectively. The terror I felt at this moment of confirmed maturation has left me traumatized indefinitely. Without further recourse, knowing the situation hopeless; I could not help but test the painful sensitivity of my fully formed breasts with hardened hurtful nipples, I examined my body compulsively, frantically.
"On July 11, 2014, I enjoyed visitation with GBDF Doctor John Serra. Serra was the professional to my patient. Serra expressly appreciated my gynecomastic constitution; noted, and treated, the rectal tag I had developed, expedited my (anastrozole) prescription, and ordered my medication be administered effective immediately.
"On July 17, 2014, I finally began receiving daily dosages of anastrozole.
"By the time I enjoyed my right to adequate medical care — while incarcerated — the damage was done. I now suffer the adverse adornment of fully formed breasts, respectively, upon my physique — that is, a permanent gynecomastic consitution. To date, the pain and ultra-sensitivity associated with my, now, male mammaries remains. Worst of, all is the anxiety and depression I experience just knowing, feeling, seeing, the protuberances that are my male breasts.
"As I am a stage performer by profession, much of my act is based upon the visual stimulus of audience perception — i.e., as a front man of leading rockstardom, my continued success is contingent upon my projecting a favorable physical image, Now, with the advent of these unsightly breasts, my music career shall undoubtedly suffer monetarily.
"Therefore I demand compensatory relief: recompense the medical cost of the surgeries necessitated to redress my breasts to normal, masculine comforts; recompense the projected costs of psychotherapy thus in treating the mental trauma — e.g., extreme anxiety, severe depression, mental anguish, emotional distress — I continue to endure proximate the, respective, gross negligence and deliberate indifference to my serious medical needs that VDF Nurse Mary Abiaro, GBDF 'Doctor' Pace have afforded me; recompense the loss of revenue concerning my career as a stage performer — i.e., the adverse affects, monetary losses, that my unsightly breasts have had upon my illustrious, tremendously marketable and exceedingly profitable, image of commanding physicality. Even my songwriting has been adversely affected as my guitar brushes against my sensitive breasts thus disrupting my very concentration ceasing valuable production.
"Furthermore I demand punitive damages be awarded for my being victim the inadvertent disfigurement that VDF Nurse Mary Abiaro, GBDF 'Doctor' Pace have afforded me."
In his complaint, Lambesis sought $500,000 in general and $35,000,000 in punitive damages.
Nurse Abiaro moved to dismiss Lambesis's lawsuit, stating through her attorney: "Even if Nurse Abiaro tossed the prescription in the trash as he now argues, such conduct does not amount to medical malpractice because she did not provide, or fail to provide, a medical service that resulted in harm to Plaintiff. As a jail nurse, Nurse Abiaro is not authorized to prescribe drugs; she is only permitted to dispense drugs on the order of a licensed physician. Similarly, Plaintiff suffered no harm as the result of Nurse Abiaro's actions because, he was subsequently seen by doctors with whom he discussed his prescription for anastrozole, and who had the authority to prescribe the drug and have it dispensed to Plaintiff if in their opinion it was needed.
"Whether or not Nurse Abiaro documented in Plaintiff's medical records that he entered the jail with a written prescription for the drug could have no influence over the physicians' treatment decisions given that the physicians were informed by Plaintiff about his prescription. Plaintiff's assertion that the doctor was unable to independently write a prescription for anastrozole without the details of the written prescription 'like dosage, duration, and the contact name of the specialist that wrote the prescription…' is not plausible because doctors have the ability to independently examine a patient and reach their own conclusion regarding whether a particular drug needs to be prescribed to a patient.
"No claim for punitive damages is to be included in a complaint against a health care provider for professional negligence. Negligence and even gross negligence is not sufficient to justify an award of punitive damages. Also under federal law, punitive damages are considered proper only when a defendant's conduct is shown to be motivated by evil motive or evil intent, or when it involves reckless or callous indifference to the federally protected rights of others. There is absolutely no allegation that Nurse Abiaro engaged in conduct motivated by evil motive or evil intent. Also, there is no allegation that she acted with reckless or callous indifference to a federal right; therefore there is no basis upon which she can be subjected to punitive damages. The claim for punitive damages against her should therefore be dismissed."
Lambesis's punitive-damages claim was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Michael M. Anello, but Tim's medical negligence claim is scheduled to go to trial on August 8, 2017.