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Larry Roux was a retired Worcester Police Officer, a decorated veteran, a dad who loved camping with his son. A man his family says died too young waiting for a kidney transplant.
WBZ

BOSTON (WBZ) ― A family member comes to the rescue of a relative needing a life saving transplant. We have certainly heard those heart warming stories before.

But what if the organ donor is behind bars?

For months, the I-Team has been investigating the case of a former Worcester Police Officer who died waiting for a kidney -- a kidney his brother, an inmate in the Worcester County House of Correction, was willing to donate.

Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve explains the family of Larry Roux believes the Worcester County Sheriff's Office didn't do enough to save Larry's life.

Larry Roux was a retired Worcester Police Officer, a decorated veteran, a dad who loved camping with his son. A man his family says died too young waiting for a kidney transplant.

Carolyn Roux is his widow. "I am thinking, 'Why they are stalling?' I am a nurse, when someone needs an operation, you do the operation, and you don't wait months and months and months."

Time was critical for Larry Roux, but his family thought they were lucky.

The 59-year-old former cop's family thought they had an ideal donor -- his younger brother Ken.

But there was a problem: Ken was behind bars in the Worcester County House of Correction serving time for assaulting his girlfriend. And that is when Larry's luck ran out.

Ken Roux says "a man is dead because I went to jail, but the people who run that facility with the stroke of a pen could have avoided this."

Ken Roux and his brother's widow Carolyn blame the man who runs the jail for Larry's death.

They contend Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis resisted helping them because he was angry at Ken and his fiancé for filing all kinds of complaints and for repeatedly making insulting comments.

Sheriff Glodis would not talk to us but his second in charge, Deputy Jeff Turco, says that is not true. "This is a tragic case that Larry Roux died. There is no question about that, but you can't lay it at the doorstep of the Worcester County Sheriff's office."

So is anyone to blame for Larry Roux's death?

The I-Team built this timeline.

By January of 2007, Larry was on the national organ donor list.

In February, his wife Carolyn appealed to Sheriff Glodis for help as Larry's health deteriorated -- writing that she hoped he could "find it in the kindness of your heart to expedite this process."

She added that Ken, sitting in a jail cell, was the "last possible hope for…Larry."

In March, doctor's notes from Tufts Medical Center state Larry needs a kidney transplant "sooner than latter."

The documents indicate all other family members have been excluded and that they "are now working with Larry to see if his brother is a likely match."

The family was heartened by this line, "if a donor is available soon, we may be able to plan a ...transplant."

Twelve days later, doctors at Tufts ordered a blood test at the jai for Ken Roux and he was named a probable match. Carolyn Roux says Larry was delighted.

"Larry was very happy about that. He was looking forward to feeling better. He told me I just want to feel like myself again."

But Ken Roux never made the trip from the jail to Tufts in Boston for further tests.

A spokesperson for the hospital tells the I-Team the relationship with the jail was "complicated"…
complicated by questions about transportation…security ... insurance... and since Ken Roux needed to be in Boston for an extended series of test, the transplant team decided to wait until June, because that's when they were told Ken Roux would get out of jail.

But Ken Roux didn't get out. His parole was denied in May.

Carolyn Roux says Larry was very disappointed. "Larry just looked at me and said, I am going to die before I get this kidney, and he meant it."

Within hours of the parole board's decision in May of 2007, Larry Roux moved his case to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. It is just a few miles from the jail he thought it would speed things along.

Since the Roux family says their appeals to Sheriff Glodis were not working, they called their congressman, Jim McGovern, for help.

His office tells the I-Team they called Sheriff Glodis' office at least three times to "ask jail officials to meet with the family."

Ken's fiancée, Susan Zuidema, who had his power of attorney, did meet with lower level staffers but she was not allowed to meet with Sheriff Glodis because of her insulting behavior in the previous months.

Deputy Turco was very clear on this point. "A decision was made by this administration that we were not going to have Ms. Zuidema come in and spew venom and falsehoods."

So Susan Zuidema tracked down Sheriff Glodis and handed him a packet of material at one of his fundraisers in July.

She remembers the encounter this way. "I said this is in regards to a retired Worcester Police Officer who needs a kidney transplant and his brother in the Worcester County House of Corrections. He stood up…said his legal department was handling it… and he walked away."

Interestingly, jail officials insist they didn't even know the family moved the transplant to UMass in Worcester until September.

Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve told Turco "the family says you would not help them with Tufts in Boston so they decided to move the transplant to Worcester to make it easier on the jail."

Turco responded, "When did they move?... We never got any indication."

The jail also says they never got a medical request from UMass until six months after the change in hospitals.

So what was going on at UMass Memorial Medical Center?

They tell the I-Team, doctors were busy all summer re-evaluating one of Larry's sisters who had previously been excluded by Tufts Medical Center.

UMass wanted to find out if her health situation had improved but after a single blood test she was excluded again.

UMass says even though Tufts had determined inmate Ken Roux was a likely match in March, they didn't consider him a possible donor until October.

In late September or early October, Larry Roux' widow claims the Transplant Coordinator at UMass expressed her frustration with how slowly the jail was responding to certain requests.

Carolyn Roux remembers the phone call this way. "It's right around the corner from the jail. UMass contacted them over and over again and the last thing they told me was our hands are tied, we are waiting for the jail."

UMass denies that. They tell the I-Team they were not waiting on the jail. They say "both the hospital and jail were working in good faith to move the evaluation process along, and the hospital's hands were never tied."

They add: "We do not feel… Ken's incarceration impeded Larry's care."

In December, seven months after Larry Roux moved his case to UMass, a transplant related test was preformed at the jail on Ken Roux.

But it was too late. Thirty-six days later, Larry Roux died.

Ken Roux explains his brother's death this way. "I think Sheriff Gloids was upset with me or other members of my family…I think it was his arrogance that killed my brother."

Carolyn Roux was asked "do you think Sheriff Glodis cost you your husband's life?

Her response: "Yes, I do. Yes I do."

Deputy Turco says that is ridiculous. "We believe we did everything that was asked of us and everything that was required of us."

Jail officials vehemently insist they did nothing wrong. They say they did everything the hospitals asked them to do.

UMass Memorial Medical Center refused to answer specific questions from the I-Team about that four-month gap during the summer of 2007 when they say they were re-testing a family member who had been excluded.

They also couldn't explain why they wouldn't test two family members at once considering their own doctors wrote in a letter just weeks after getting this case in June 2007 that they wanted this done "as soon as possible."

UMass did say this: "Correctional settings...can present challenges..."

http://wbztv.com/local/retired.police.officers.2.855374.html
 
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