A wrongful-death suit is planned against the Ramsey County jail. The man's mother says she brought insulin to the jail.
Randy Gallmeyer's mother always made it a mission to ensure that her son checked his blood-sugar levels and took his insulin shots.
So on Oct. 19, when Nora Gallmeyer got a call on her cell phone while she was visiting relatives in Iowa from Randy, 46, saying he had been arrested for riding a bicycle drunk, she immediately asked to talk to an officer, she said Thursday.
In that call and several that would follow, Nora Gallmeyer said, she explained to police and jail personnel how critical it was that her son get insulin.
She delivered his medicine to the Ramsey County jail, the mother said.
Still, jailers found him dying in his cell Sunday morning, said his parents, Nora and Bernie Gallmeyer of West St. Paul, and their attorney, Beau McGraw of Oakdale.
His organs had shut down and he had no heartbeat, they said. An attending physician at Regions Hospital told them their son was brain-dead upon arrival, with blood-glucose levels at a lethal high, they said.
Beyond the shock of finding their son on a life-support machine was another ugly reality, Bernie and Nora Gallmeyer said. In his hospital room, they found the unopened packages of insulin, other medication and syringes that Nora said she dropped off at the jail on Oct. 19. By Oct. 22, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. His parents blame the jail workers.
"There is no excuse for them not giving him the medical treatment," she said.
On Thursday, the family's attorney said they would file a wrongful-death suit on Tuesday, naming the city of St. Paul, Ramsey County, Sheriff Bob Fletcher, his department and others.
Fletcher said Thursday that a jail nurse saw and treated Gallmeyer on Saturday. He said details on whether the medical personnel were given Gallmeyer's medicine by jailers are part of an internal investigation. The nurses work until 10 p.m., he said.
He also said he wants to know whom the mother spoke with at the jail.
The Gallmeyers said that they would let their attorney handle their communications with the sheriff's office.
It is the second death of a Ramsey County inmate since April 2006. Federal officials are still reviewing the 2006 death of Maria Inamagua Merchan, who was being held in the Ramsey County jail while she awaited deportation.
McGraw said he has requested dispatcher and jail records about Gallmeyer.
"We know that he was checked in some time after 6, but certainly before 10," McGraw said of Gallmeyer's arrest that Friday. "We know that they did not come find him in his cell until Sunday morning. What the doctor said is that his blood-sugar level reached a lethal point, and as a result, his organs began to shut down."
Because of privacy laws, Regions Hospital could not confirm details of Gallmeyer's case. A physician's note, given to the parents, says Gallmeyer was admitted with ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition where ketones become elevated. His glucose levels had reached 1,200, about 10 times the normal level.
"That's outrageous, that level," said Bernie Gallmeyer. "The doctor told us up there that if he did get any insulin, it wasn't sufficient."
The physician had told the couple, they said, that Randy's kidneys shut down at the jail, that he had no heartbeat when found and that he had been without blood flow to the brain for possibly 10 minutes. On Oct. 22, he was removed from life support.
An autopsy showed that he died of natural causes, according to the Ramsey County medical examiner. Toxicology reports are pending.
A glucose meter, which his mother dropped off at the jail, showed the last time her son had checked his levels was 3:14 p.m. Friday, when they were slightly high at 196, his parents said.
Diagnosed with diabetes at age 12, Gallmeyer would typically check his blood-sugar level every two to three hours.
His parents said Randy, who had been diagnosed with bronchitis the day before, might have been ill, rather than intoxicated, when arrested.
Joe Prietos, an agent for Goldberg Bonding in Minneapolis, said Nora Gallmeyer had called him Friday night to post bail. Prietos said the jail told him that Gallmeyer was on a 48-hour hold, with no bail set, because he had not been charged.
Prietos said Nora told him her son needed his insulin and she was going to his St. Paul home to get it, then to the jail. The next day, she told him she had brought the medicine to the jail and spoken to a supervisor about 11:30 p.m.
Prietos also said she told him that she had asked to speak to the jail nurse, but a deputy said, "Nobody talks to the nurse."
A physician told the couple that paramedics worked on him for 20 minutes in the jail before taking him to the hospital.
"They put him on life support," Bernie Gallmeyer said. "It was too late. He had been without oxygen too long."
Staff writer M.L. Smith contributed to this story. Joy Powell 612-673-7750