FORT WORTH, Sept. 13 Whitewater witness James B. McDougal complained of feeling ill hours before he died in a prison cell, but he was never seen by a doctor, according to a federal government report.
McDougal, a former business partner of President Clinton and one of the first to withdraw his allegiance from Clinton, also had no access to his heart medication after he was placed in a solitary confinement cell known as "The Hole" at the Federal Medical Center prison in Fort Worth.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram obtained the internal report under the Freedom of Information Act.
Before his death on March 8, McDougal had been moved from his regular cell to "The Hole" as punishment for failing to provide a urine sample for a drug test, authorities said.
He had complained previously of being unable to provide urine for drug tests because of the medications he took for a variety of ailments.
During the move, prison guards did not find McDougal's heart medication because they did not want to search McDougal's regular cell and disturb his sleeping cellmate, according to the report.
One of the medicines, nitroglycerin, could have bought McDougal some time after he suffered a heart attack, according to a prison official who asked not to be identified, the Texas newspaper reported today.
The prison spokeswoman, Susan Marlo, said in a telephone call from her home that she could not comment without having the report in front of her. "The only comment I can make is there definitely are other facts that would explain these statements," she said.
McDougal complained of dizziness after five hours of trying to provide a urine sample for guards on March 7, the report said. Neither a prison doctor nor two physician attendants saw McDougal, however, according to the report.
Although McDougal seemed to be breathless during the move to isolation and later vomited, he told the guards that he was fine and "voiced no complaints regarding his health or medical state," the report said. He never asked for medication, the report asserted.
McDougal appeared "alert, well-oriented and absent any visible signs of distress" until the next morning when a guard heard "a loud sighing from within the cell" and found him on the floor, the report said.
McDougal was pronounced dead at a hospital.
McDougal became a key witness for Whitewater prosecutors when that investigation centered on an Arkansas land deal in which Clinton and McDougal were involved. McDougal was convicted of unrelated federal fraud charges.
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