WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Similarities are being drawn between a 2003 teenager’s death, a Miami-Dade juvenile detention center, and 18 year old Eric Perez’s death in Palm Beach County.
Omar Paisley died in 03’ from a ruptured appendix that went untreated for days at a Miami-Dade juvenile detention facility.
The aftermath of his death was supposed to change the juvenile detention system.
"It would have been a double tragedy to have made the same mistake yet again," said former Florida state senator David Aronberg.
Aronberg remembers watching fellow lawmakers pushing for sweeping reform in 2003, after Paisley's death.
An investigation revealed that detention center guards said they were told by their supervisors not to call 9-1-1 for Paisley, even though they asked if they could.
A Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center officer says he was told not to call 9-1-1 as Eric Perez vomited violently on July 10th.
Perez died that morning.
After Paisley's death, however, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or DJJ, gave permission to any detention center worker to call 9-1-1, without supervisor's permission.
The DJJ isn't releasing any information until its internal investigation is complete.
Aronberg said the juvenile system was underfunded in 2003 and is now as well.
He hopes lessons learned will help save lives.
"We need to continue to evaluate what's working and what's not and let's at least, at the very least make sure that the tragedies that occurred in Miami-Dade County aren't replicated here in Palm Beach County," said Aronberg.
The Department of Juvenile Justice placed posters reminding workers of the 9-1-1 call rules after Paisley's death.
The guard in Perez's case said he didn't see any posters in the entire West Palm Beach facility.
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