The illusion of correctional ‘medicine’
Taken from a March 31 audio recording on prisonradio.org
In the netherworld of American prisons one must jettison any medical assumption one brings in from the so-called free world. We’ve been conditioned to see nurses as sweet sources of solace and doctors as people dedicated to healing the sick and easing our pain.
In prison, new rules govern medicine and care. Here, money is master. The ill are all but ignored. This may seem harsh, but I must assure you reality is even harsher.
Recently, I wrote of jailhouse lawyer Dennis Solo McKeithan and his battle to get examined and treated for the painful nerve disorder known as shingles.
As I read this trial transcript I found the remarkable comments and questions by the judge instructive. He asked essentially if a company hired by the DOC [Department of Corrections] to provide health care had a conflict because, as a private company, its interests were to make money by refusing to provide medications needed by prisoners. The witness denied his suggestion, but the judge had hit a nerve.
From 2015 to today, my lawyers and I have been demanding real treatment for my hepatitis C infection.
The DOC initially filed a false affidavit which justified a U.S. magistrate’s dismissal of my own suit. The DOC argued that my hepatitis was fine; that it could go years without treatment.
A federal judge disagreed and held a hearing which showed the affidavit was false and months later declared the so-called DOC protocol unconstitutional. The DOC fought back, arguing that my hep C was at a low level. The judge again disagreed, declared the protocol unconstitutional a second time and ordered me treated.
The DOC essentially ignored the court order for close to two months and earlier this week subjected me to more testing. Well the results just came back.
Not only do I have advanced hepatitis C, I have cirrhosis of the liver — called F4, because the DOC didn’t want to spend money to treat my infection. The DOC said it would cost them $600 million. It may only cost me my life.