Nurse indicted in connection with Henry County inmate death

Deputies say the cause of death involved fentanyl, but the ‘lack of care’ contributed to his death


HENRY COUNTY, Va. – The Henry County Sheriff’s Office has provided an update on the Henry County Adult Detention Center death investigation that happened last August.

As we’ve reported previously, 42-year-old Bradley Hensley arrived at the detention center and made the staff aware of his medical history, according to authorities.

Based on that information and pre-existing conditions, deputies said that Hensley was placed under the direct supervision of Wellpath medical services staff and was to be regularly monitored.

Later on August 6, 2022, Hensley told deputies he was having a hard time breathing at which time we’re told the Wellpath medical staff on duty was notified.

Around 7:33 a.m., deputies said they noticed Hensley lying in bed and that he appeared to be in medical distress.

While they were interacting with him, authorities said that Hensley became unconscious and unresponsive.

Deputies said they immediately began life-saving measures, including CPR on Hensley until medical staff arrived, then they continued CPR and used an AED.

At 7:36 a.m., the Martinsville-Henry County Emergency 911 Center was contacted and notified of the situation, and crews with Henry County Public Safety responded to the call and arrived at 7:45 a.m.

Hensley was then taken to SOVAH Health Martinsville, where he was pronounced deceased by the medical staff, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to Henry County authorities, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia performed an autopsy and said the cause of death was “acute fentanyl toxicity with adrenal crisis due to congenital adrenal hyperplasia contributing.”

As the investigation continued, video evidence was reviewed, and deputies said they found that an on-duty nurse, who was employed by Wellpath medical services, was responsible for the medical care did not perform medical checks as expected and required.

After further investigation, deputies said the same nurse, now identified as 56-year-old Deborah Damron, had falsified Henlsey’s medical records. Authorities said she had recorded rounds and vitals checks that were never performed.

It was later determined that the lack of care contributed to Hensley’s death.

The evidence was presented to a Henry County Grand Jury on March 20, 2023, during which case Damron was indicted for involuntary manslaughter.

According to the sheriff’s office, Damron was arrested by the Kentucky State Police in Pikeville, Kentucky on March 22, 2023, and is currently held in there awaiting extradition as the investigation continues.

We’re told the case has been sent to the Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails and is pending final review.

About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.