KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A federal jury has ruled that Tennessee’s Knox County owes a former inmate $2,000 for each of the 70 days the man spent behind bars with an undiagnosed, untreated broken neck that caused him so much pain he considered killing himself.

The Knoxville News Sentinel ( ) reports that a jury on Wednesday awarded 62-year-old Donald R. Nichols $140,000 in damages for the pain, mental suffering and humiliation he endured in 2010 while housed at a detention facility outside Knoxville.

Nichols broke his neck when he rolled off his cell’s top bunk and fell head-first onto a concrete floor in August 2010. A nurse requested an X-ray the next day, but none was ordered for 70 days.

Testimony showed Nichols filed multiple written requests for medical help. He grew so desperate from pain — the source of which he did not know — that he bartered with other inmates and even had his teeth extracted to get over-the-counter pain medication.

Nichols eventually had surgery and now walks with a cane. His attorney argued in court that the county offered no witnesses to contradict Nichols’ testimony that his calls for help were ignored.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel,

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