Felix Manus

An inmate from the Erie County Prison is fighting for his life after suffering a severe asthma attack during a work release detail. The man reportedly asked a correction officer several times to call an ambulance, but was refused.  Now, the family wants answers.

The inmate's name is Felix Manus.  His family hired an attorney to get those answers. Manus was hospitalized last Wednesday , and the Manus family still does not know why their loved one was not given immediate help when he was struggling to breathe.

The asthma attack took place at the Erie Hunt and Saddle Club, near Edinboro.  Manus was on lawnmower detail when he began to have trouble breathing.  He told another worker than his inhaler was empty. Manus' first request for an ambulance came when a corrections officer arrived to pick-up the five inmates for their return to the work release center at the Erie County Prison complex. The corrections officer refused.

 On the van trip back to Erie, Manus' breathing became more distressed.   His fellow inmates banged on the van window to get the corrections officer to stop and call 9-1-1.  The officer instead called his supervisor, who allegedly told the officer to proceed back to the work release center. It apparently was determined that it would be faster to drive Manus back to the center than wait for an ambulance to arrive on the country road.

It took 30 minutes to get back to the center, where an ambulance was not waiting. Ten minutes later, Manus was taken to UPMC Hamot in critical condition due to lack of oxygen.  His family says he is now on life support and not expected to survive.

The Manus Family attorney. John Mizner, wrote a letter to Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, demanding that an independent investigation be launched.

"Everybody has to be accountable for their actions and their failure to act,” Mizner said.  This was just common sense.  This wasn't the practice of medicine.  Every child knows.  Medical emergency.. Call 9-1-1.  Call 9-1-1."       

Gary Lee, Erie County Director of Administration, released this statement to Erie News Now: 

"The administration is currently reviewing the occurrence. This is a high priority for the administration, and we plan to have the administration's review completed by the end of the week."

Original article by: John Last.


Manus died June 11 at UPMC Hamot.

Manus was sentenced May 4 to three months in the Erie County Prison for failure to pay $750 in child support, according to the lawsuit.