The death of an inmate at the Faulkner County Detention Center was of natural causes, according to county coroner Pat Moore.
David Mitchell Dollar of Greenbrier was found dead at about 2 a.m. on Aug. 20 in a cell that he had been placed in alone after detention officers suspected that he was having hallucinations. He had been arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct on Aug. 17.
Moore said that Dollar, who was born in 1961, died of ruptured esophageal varices resulting from cirrhosis of the liver. This occurs when bloodflow through the liver is obstructed by cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver tissue. Blood begins to “back up” into smaller blood vessels in the abdomen that aren’t capable of carrying this volume and pressure of blood. After a time one or more of them rupture causing a sudden hemorrhage of blood, usually from the blood vessels surrounding the esophagus.
In some cases involving small ruptures of these blood vessels, the disorder presents itself as blood coughed up or noticed in the stool, in which case it can be diagnosed and treated. In other cases there are no symptoms and death is unexpected and sudden.
Reports written by five jail employees reveal that the staff was concerned about Dollar’s safety in light of some odd, but nonviolent behavior and also concerned that he wasn’t eating, at one point leaving a tray of food in his cell longer than jail policy allows hoping that he would. He “said his stomach hurt” at around noon on Aug. 19 according to a report written by FCSO Lt. Pamela Carter, but the four other reporting officers mention no other complaints of sickness or bleeding from Dollar.
Moore said that a postmortem toxicology report did show evidence of narcotic use, but that this wasn’t directly related to the cause of death.
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