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Family fighting to be by dying inmate's side

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Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Family fighting to be by dying inmate's side

By Christy Dimond. CREATED Oct 9, 2013

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - The family of a Charlotte Correctional Institution inmate is fighting to be by their loved one's side.  Rosa Moreno's 40-year-old brother, Frank, is in critical condition on life support at Lee Memorial Hospital.  The Moreno family said they weren't notified about Frank's condition until two-and-a-half days after he arrived at the hospital.  

"It's not good, we're basically in the dark," Rosa said. 

On Monday, a corrections officer called Rosa's family to let them know Frank was in Intensive Care at the hospital, and that they should go see him right away.  When Rosa arrived, her brother was in a coma with no brain activity.  She doesn't know how he got that way. 

"They said he had an altercation, and nothing else," she said. 

Not only does Rosa not know how her brother went from serving a seven-year sentence in prison to being on life support, she also doesn't know when she can visit him.  

Security officers must be present when the family visits Frank, so their visits depend on when additional security is available. 

"When an inmate is in the hospital, they are still in the care and custody of the department and require supervision," said Misty Cash, Communications Director for Florida Department of Corrections. 

Cash said officials at Charlotte Correctional Institution tried to reach's Frank's family, but could not get a hold of them for two days. 

"The staff reached out to everyone they could and they did it as quickly as they could," Cash said. 
Rosa hadn't been told whether her family, or the state, would get to make any decision about taking Frank off life support.  Cash said it's up to the family to make that decision. 

Meanwhile, Rosa just wants to be at her brother's side. 

"There's people who come out of comas and a lot of people say that family members are the ones that help them pull out of it," she said.