Medical board suspends license of MEnD doctor involved with death of Beltrami County inmate

 The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice has suspended the medical license of a doctor who was involved in the death of an inmate at the Beltrami County Jail more than three years ago. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Hardel Sherrell suffered from a rare medical condition where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves causing paralysis and a complete loss of body control.

Sherrell’s death was captured on video surveillance inside the jail. 

Sherrell was transported to the Sanford Fargo hospital while in custody and a letter from the state’s Department of Corrections assessed that there was a belief within the jail that Sherrell was faking his condition to escape custody. 

The Hardel Sherrell Act was passed unanimously last summer in a special session.

The act establishes minimum standards on mental health, suicide prevention, medication administration and discharge planning, code of conduct policy development, and death reviews in correctional settings. 

Dr. Todd Leonard maintains the way the case was handled was proper. 

His suspension goes into effect on March 1.

Beltrami County, as of the first of this year, uses Advanced Correctional Care as the jail’s medical provider, terminating the contract with MEnD Correctional Care, which had been the jail’s medical provider since 2012.

The switch costs $70,000 more per year, but ACC is reportedly better qualified to handle mental health needs than MEnD.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!


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