Joseph Anthony Hill, accused of murdering a man and running over a police officer, is suing San Diego County sheriff William Gore and the University of California at San Diego Medical Center for not adequately treating the gunshot wounds he suffered when trying to make his getaway.
Hill, 45, filed a complaint in federal court alleging that his 14th Amendment rights were violated because doctors refused to treat him after he was shot multiple times by deputies from the Marshal's Service and San Diego County Sheriff's Department. One round was fired into Hill's left arm and lodged near his aorta. Hill says he is unable to move his arm and is in constant pain.
"During the course of my initial treatment I was found to have a shattered bone in my left arm, with an approximate 4-inch gap between the shattered bone, and my bicep had become detached which in all probability caused some related nerve damage. Additionally, bullet and bone fragments were seen in the x-ray and they found a bullet lodged near my aorta," reads Hill's complaint.
"I was admitted to UCSD Medical Center for stabilization. During that time I was given antibiotics and pain killers. I was told that they were going to leave the bullet near my heart in place for now, but would re-evaluate later, and they put a plastic, removable brace around my arm, and told me that they thought the arm would heal on its own. It has now been a year, I am in constant, excruciating pain and the two pain tablets they give me daily make no appreciable difference. I cannot move my arm at all — it lies flaccid."
Hill was charged with fatally shooting Sean Austin O'Toole, 47, on December 29, 2013, at O'Toole's Linda Vista condominium.
According to statements from deputy district attorney Joe McLaughlin, Hill shot O'Toole twice before leaving the scene. Sheriff's deputies located Hill, a repeat felon, the following morning in Point Loma. Hill attempted to flee the scene in his car, striking an officer and pinning him in between two cars. A deputy opened fire, striking Hill, and causing him to crash his car.
Hill was transported to UCSD Medical Center for treatment. It was there, states his complaint, that doctors showed a "deliberate indifference" to him and his gunshot wounds.
"At a recent visit to see an Orthopedic Surgeon I found, what I had always suspected, that my arm, if it were to function anywhere near properly again, would require extensive surgery, including a bone graft from my hip bone.
"A result of my inability to use my arm, I am unable to complete normal basic daily functions without help, i.e.; showering, or dressing, and need help from other inmates. I am unable to sleep throughout the night, as most positions cause additional pain — and I have been unable to get a full night's sleep in over a year. I am requesting relief in the form of surgery and rehabilitation to ensure that my arm is completely functional."