[Marxism] Bagram prison ... and California prisons

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sun May 22 08:36:13 MDT 2005

Rx sought for prison health care

A judge's pending hearings may end with the troubled system in 
By Andy Furillo -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, May 22, 2005

Battered in a fight with other inmates, the convict complained to the 
prison medical staff that he couldn't move.

The doctors looked the prisoner over and quickly reached a diagnosis: 
He was faking it.

When the inmate claimed he still couldn't get out of his bunk the next 
day, the staff poked and prodded him again. This time, according to 
state Medical Board records, the responding physician in charge "was 
observed to chastise and berate the patient, and to tell him there was 
nothing wrong with him."

Nothing, that is, except a traumatic dislocation of his spine, a 
subsequent medical examination revealed, probably from a fall during 
the fight. It was an injury that required a cervical fusion, and it 
left the inmate a quadriplegic, the Medical Board records showed.

The chastising doctor later was suspended by the Medical Board, but 
according to a blistering court order recently issued by a federal 
judge and legislative reports that have castigated prison health care 
throughout California, the incident at Salinas Valley State Prison is 
far from isolated.

Health care in the Department of Corrections has become so 
unconstitutionally shoddy, U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson 
found, that he is seriously considering the appointment of a receiver 
under his control to manage a system that he said is in "a blatant 
state of crisis."

"We're not talking here solely about inmates not getting to see the 
doctor for weeks at a time, although that is serious," said Steve Fama, 
an attorney with the San Rafael-based Prison Law Office, the inmates' 
rights advocacy group that filed the class-action lawsuit over which 
Henderson is presiding. "We're not talking solely here about specialty 
service providers or ambulance companies threatening to stop providing 
services because their contracts are all bollixed up, although those 
things are very serious.

"We're talking about people being killed because of bad care or 
unavailable care."

Henderson cited a backlog of 34 deaths that he found to be "highly 
problematic, with multiple instances of incompetence, indifference, 
neglect and even cruelty by medical staff" when he ordered the state to 
show cause why he shouldn't place the $1 billion prison health care 
system into receivership.


from Brian Shannon

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