TEXAS PRISON MEDICAL CARE

TEXAS PRISON MEDICAL CARE
INFORMATION AND REPORTS:


[TX PRISONERS DENIED PROPER
MEDICAL/HEALTH TREATMENTS]


2014:


    JUNE

    HEALTH CARE IN THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: PERSPECTIVES FROM WOMEN AND YOUTHFUL INMATES
    Reported By: Jennifer Carreon, Policy Researcher for Texas Criminal Justice Coalition


    2013:


      JULY 01, 2013

      Jails Forwarded Inmates To TDCJ Without Mentioning Dialysis Needs

      On April 19, Texas Commission on Jail Standards executive director Brandon Wood sent a memo to all Texas Sheriffs and jail administrators (pdf) advising them that:

      In the past week, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) officials have notified us that two dialysis inmates from separate counties were sent to TDCJ facilities without prior notification. As a result, one inmate had to be immediately hospitalized in a private hospital because TDCJ was not prepared for the inmate and did not have an available dialysis unit.

      The memo included a reminder that under the law and TCJS regulations counties have a "duty and responsibility to notify and coordinate the care of inmates with serious medical or mental impairments with receiving facilities." It doesn't say which were the offending counties.

      Mentioning, "Hey, you might want to have a machine ready," before sending somebody who needs dialysis to prison seems like pretty basic stuff. And given that there's a formal process in place, such documentation should be part of their regular "pen packet" so there's really no excuse. Two in a week from different counties could be a fluke or it could also be a red flag, so Wood was right to take the opportunity to issue the reminder.

      POSTED BY GRITSFORBREAKFAST


    2012:


      June 19, 2012

      Subject: Andrew Earl Williams

      We are an Advocacy group that helps inmates in TDCJ. Mr. Andrew Earl Williams inmate # 751192, corresponds with us and has sent a letter requesting that I contact you and give you a “run down” on the things that are happening to him now. He tells me you helped him “awhile” back and that he may need more help from you. I will quote from Mr. Williams’ letter.

      Dear Friends of Jerry c/o Cinda

      Please contact Texas Medical News and give them the full rundown and new developments on myself, parole and medical care now. They told me yesterday that they may be trying to send me to the Hamilton Unit in Bryan Texas, because now they cannot get any halfway house to accept me, or that’s what they claim.

      Their special conditions Religious Beliefs Halfway Houses reject me, because I ‘m not of their faith and refuses to worship their Gods.

      Now here they are denying me Eye Glasses, proper medications and Times, and proper medical care and access to such here. Maybe Texas Medical News can help publish these facts, now borderline diabetic and food allergic and other allergic allergies reactions. Plus pulled all my medical restrictions and trying to force me into Job here as Dorm Janitor over my Medical Restrictions, and still no glasses period. lied for last 3 months straight and all of last 6 years about eye glasses. I am now down to 123 pounds and medical restrictions for past 6 years, 11 years before that as well.

      Texas Department of Criminal Justice
      Health Summary For Classification on 8/24/2011
      TDCJ-ID 00751192, SID 01820363
      III WORK ASSIGNMENT/RESTRICTIONS
      00 3. Sedentary work only
      00 7. Limited standing
      00 9. No lifting 020 pounds
      00 10. No bending at waste
      00 11. No repetitive squatting
      00 12. No climbing
      00 13. Limited sitting

      This is what I had when I got on this unit and did up to time I filed last grievance on this unit and started drawing up 1983 on medical on this unit about glasses.

      I got to get I-60’s to Medical Dept here and file more grievances to stop what they are pulling on me now.

      If what I have been told is true here, they are shipping me out and retaliations because of the grievances and complaints I have filed because of their actions here by Medical Depts and others on this unit. I am hurting and in pain and can not hardly see with two pairs of reading glasses on at one time.

      Now I’m finishing this one up so I can get it out in the mail today. Stay in contact with me, I do not know anything for sure yet except I’m leaving soon on this FI-6. Supposedly going to a halfway house not another Unit. Could just be lies, talk or harassment. May God Bless You all there.

      Bye for Now
      Andrew Earl Williams 751192
      P.O. Box #8000 [XQ] D9-26
      Henderson, Texas 75653

      As you can see Mr. Williams is having a difficult time with his medical issues again. Any help you can give him would be great. I am his personal Advocate, so if you have questions or need more information, feel free to contact me at this email address. I will be keeping in touch with Mr. Williams and will also be discussing the half way house situation with a few of my contacts. Please let me know if you are able to do anything for Mr. Williams.

      Thank You,
      Cinda Grimm; Advocate
      Friends of Jerry
      36 Forest Lane
      Trout Creek, MT 59874
      friendsofjerry@hotmail.com


    How Sick Are They?

    The reasons for which the state can recommend the medical release
    of inmates and the rate at which the parole board gave approval:
    Medical Problem..........Approval Rate
    Terminally ill...........40%
    Need long-term care......10.5%
    Physically disabled.......0%
    Elderly..................12.5%
    Mentally ill..............0%
    Mentally disabled.........0%

    Source: Legislative Budget Board, based on 2009 data


    Out The Door

    The number of state prison inmates released for medical reasons
    has risen sharply since 2009 and hit a five-year high last year.
    Fiscal Year.....Released
    2007............81
    2008............73
    2009............40
    2010............69
    2011............85

    Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Board of Pardons and Parole


    2011:


      August 2011

      Health Care Fee Notice To Offenders

      Click HERE to read Notice.


      July 19, 2011

      The University Of Texas Medical Branch Correctional Managed Care
      Click on Frequently Asked Questions to view [PDF Format]


      02/03/2011

      Message from a TX Inmate:

      Sherry A. Nance
      TDCJ # 544805
      Lane Murray Unit
      1916 N. HWY. 36 Bypass
      Gatesville, TX 76596

      Reference: Slow Death Penalty

      Attention:
      Jimmy Fergus
      TX.Correctional Oversight Committee
      ACLU of Texas Prison and Jail Accountability Project
      and Prison Legal News

      To Whom It May Concern:

      The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has had it's budget cut drastically.
      On this unit, only the inmates side of the chow hall is suffering.
      They have cut down on the portions of food and some of these large women,
      who are as tall and as big as a man are going hungry if they do not go to
      Commissary. Most of the women on the unit must supplement their diet with
      Commissary. Lately, this has not been an option either. This unit only makes
      store per spend and it is an Olympic feat to get there and once you get there,
      there are no real healthy foods and what they do have is in short supply!
      Out of stock list get longer and longer! And items are limited.
      Being forced to eat junk food affects your health! And now is the real clincher:

      After you have been deprived of nutrition food and ruined your health
      by eating junk food. That you ate to get full; you have trouble getting
      the medical care you need! The name of the game is delay and deny!
      UTMB apparently has not gotten paid by TDCJ, because they are not wanting
      to give the services inmates need to remain healthy. I am sure that UTMB
      has also ad it's budget cut. Since it is the State hospital. If an inmate
      is not persistent, they will go without care. The double whammy of inadequate
      medical care can give rise to disease and decline in health. Inmate population
      tend to have high ratios of illness and disease.

      The population within TDCJ-CID is aging. And many of those older infirm inmates
      have been eligible for parole for years: But TDCJ-CID continues to keep them;
      even once they have their Legislative, mandated time and ever after year of
      set offs! If the state is so broke, it seems they would see the obvious, that
      that they could easily allow these older individual especially the first offenders
      who have done their time, allow them to make parole! I cannot tell that TDCJ
      is overcrowded and its prisoners are a burden on the taxpayers: you are still
      trying to keep them! With the present situation of poor nutrition and poor
      nutrition and poor health care, maybe they are trying to kill us off!
      This is Texas! Slow death penalty given the choice of slow suffering,
      and a rapid death: I would choose the fast death penalty! When will the
      Criminal Justice System ever learn, that cutting the budget would be easiest
      if you started with the obvious: letting the parole eligible go?
      Teach them a lesson: Make Taxpayers out of them!

      Sentenced to the Texas slow death penalty,
      Sherry A. Nance


    2010:


      Trenda Kemmerer #1069794
      Mt. View Unit
      2305 Ransom Road
      Gatesville, Texas 76528

      Update: As of September 10, 2010, Trenda writes: " I just got off Bactrim (another antibiotic) and the infection did not once again go away. In fact, it is now under my left arm. My head above my left ear is swollen and my head is now hurting. My stomach/throat is now killing me, and I have a dry cough. Here is the letter from the free world dentist (see attachment) that was paid to come take care of my teeth because for 2 1/2 years the dentist here kept saying there was not a thing wrong. Now the infection is so far gone that it is spreading. Please help. I have already submitted my Step 2 grievance to Huntsville. "

      Update: As of August 15, 2010, Trenda writes in part:

      "I am only asking that this infection to be tested, so we know what antibiotics to use to wipe it out and to wipe it out for good. They tell me I have an appointment to see the unit doctor and then that day comes and I did not have an appointment to see the doctor. My fever is now back. Due to the pain and swelling on my left side, I cannot even sleep on that side, and if I somehow end up on that side in the middle of the night, I am awaken by sharp pains, the infection is down my neck, shoulder, jaw, back, left breast, under left arm, and then it also goes up my temple and now above my left ear. I hope that yall are able to help."

      Emergency intervention needed:

      Trenda has had a tooth problem since November of 2009. She paid for an outside dentist to come to Mt. View which caused a series of appointments to be arranged with the prison dentist and Huntsville. Two teeth were extracted in June and she has had a temperature of over 101 since the extraction. Her face is swollen from under eye down her neck and to her breast. If she touches the extraction area a sharp pain shoots up her head. Trenda has taken 16 sessions of antibiotics since 2009 and the outside dentist requested stronger medication and to take for 30 days. The prison dentist refused. Trenda is taking Tylenol for pain and that's all. She has developed a cough and remains in bed unless she has to go to the pill line.

      Trenda has had a problem with the prison dentist because she refused to have him do it. She signed a paper to that affect but the dental stuff is done now and she is very sick.

      Please call or email the following people. Trenda needs help now and is too ill to write out grievances. We will post some when we get them. In the meantime, Trenda needs emergency treatment before Sepsis sets in.
      Thank you to all of you.

      Lt. Governor, David Dewhurst
      Capitol Station
      PO Box 12068
      Austin, TX 78711
      Ph: 512-463-0001
      Fax: 512-463-0677
      Web Form: http://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/contact.php

      Representative Todd Hunter, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Chair Room E2.808, Capitol Extension
      Austin, TX 78701
      Ph: (512) 463-0672
      Web Form: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=32&rep=todd.hunter

      Senator Jeff Wentworth, Jurisprudence, Chair
      P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station
      Austin, TX 78711
      Ph: (512) 463-0125
      Web Form: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist25/dist25.htm#form

      Senator John Whitmire, Criminal Justice, Chair
      P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station
      Austin, TX 78711
      Ph: (512) 463-0115
      Web Form: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist15/dist15.htm#form

      Brad Livingston, Executive Director
      Texas Department of Criminal Justice
      P.O. Box 13084-Capitol Station
      Austin, Texas 78711-3084
      Ph: 512-463-9988
      Fax: 512-936-2169

      TDCJ Ombudsperson - Correctional Institutions Division
      P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
      Ph: 936.437.6791
      Fax: 936.437.6668
      Email: ci.div@tdcj.state.tx.us

      Texas Civil Rights Project
      Jim Harrington - Director, Texas Civil Rights Project
      Prisoner Rights Program
      The Michael Tigar Human Rights Center
      1405 Montopolis Drive
      Austin, TX 78741-3436
      Ph: (512) 474-5073
      Email: questions@texascivilrightsproject.org

      Texas Department of Criminal Justice
      Health Services Division - Director of Clinical Services
      3009-A HWY 30 West
      Huntsville, Texas 77340-0769
      Ph: (936) 437-4271
      Fax: ( 936) 437-3601
      Email: health.services@tdcj.state.tx.us

      John Moriarty, Inspector General
      Office of the Inspector General
      P.O. Box 13084, Capitol Station
      Austin, Texas 78711
      Ph: (512) 671-2480
      Fax: (512) 671-2129
      Email: oigspecialops@tdcj.state.tx.us

      Special Litigation Section
      U.S. Department of Justice
      Civil Rights Division
      950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
      Special Litigation Section
      Washington, D.C. 20530
      Phone (202-514-6255 or 877-218-5228)
      Fax (202-514-0212 or 202-514-6273)

      Inmate Letter Campaign
      Saving lives one letter at a time


      July 28, 2010

      Elmer Ray Robinson #1244111
      Stiles Unit
      3060 FM 3514
      Beaumont, TX 77705

      UPDATE:

      Mr. Robinson writes to us that he has both the medical boots and the egg crate mattress. He tells us that having these medical items has helped his medical condition a lot and his disposition is a lot better. Here is what Elmer wanted to pass along in his own words:

      "Thank you for all your support and letters. It is so hard to find people to help you when you have made a mistake and gone to prison. A lot of people judge us because of those mistakes so I just wanted to say thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart. The concern shown to me for my medical needs was something I will not forget. I don't have a mom or dad anymore so your support means so much to me. Thank you again for taking out time from your busy lives to help me in my time of need."

      Thank you all from the Inmate Letter Campaign. Together we can make a difference.

      HISTORY:

      Mr. Robinson has been suffering from a deteriorating Spinal Cord. His X-rays revealed this disease and he is in chronic pain that is not being relieved. Mr. Robinson also suffers from Vertigo and High Blood Pressure. Mr. Robinson was prescribed medical boots for his deteriorating spinal problems several years ago and they were never given to him. He was also not allowed to have an extra or egg crate mattress to alleviate the painful condition of his back problems.

      Mr. Robinson has been seeking medical help for several years from the TDCJ. Treatment has been slow in coming and in fact, he has been refused any and all relief. From the beginning of 2008 letters have been written to the various arms of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Corrections. Organizations have been contacted. Requests have gone out for Elmer to receive the medical boots and extra mattress and pain relieving treatment to end what has turned out to be a journey in long term suffering.

      From these various arms of the TDCJ have come the same responses. The Ombudsman Office, Chief of Professional Standards in Health Services, the Program Supervisor of Health Services Division, the Warden at Stiles Unit, the Investigator, Patient Liaison and the Lt. Governor. All have said that Elmer is getting the best medical care, they sent the letter to someone else for review, Elmer had to follow the grievance process (not clarifying how many more years of filing grievances it would take before he received help) or just coming out and saying they don't allow any inmate anything extra and the process of getting medical boots takes time. (This process of getting medical boots has taken years).

      In an updated letter Mr. Robinson informs us that after all these years, due to the efforts of the volunteers that give so generously give of their time to the Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition, he has received approval for his medical boots and has been given a date of September 2009 to see the doctor for his fitting. We will be asking for updates on this issue to monitor how long this process takes.

      Elmer still struggles with the pain and is only given Ibuprofen 600 and this is not alleviating the pain. He also needs an extra mattress or an egg crate mattress to help alleviate the pain. If there is any treatment to stop the Degenerative Spinal Cord Disease this needs to be addressed by the Health Services Dept of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and proper treatment administered. Treatment for degenerative spinal disorders depends on the severity of the condition. Some problems can be treated with bed rest and oral pain medication and physical therapy. There are options such as surgery and these are done when the deterioration has become so advanced that the pain can't be alleviated without it. Physical therapy is used the most for the vast majority of patients and can provide temporary pain relief. Left to degenerate the nerve pain travels throughout the entire body. There is no relief at all. This is when surgery is needed. It has been suggested that spinal degenerative diseases are at least in part caused by the lack of proper nutrition and not enough vitamin B-12. Excellent results have been obtained through surgery and most patients are able to normally function in a matter of weeks. Surgery alleviates the pressure on the cord and provides relief of pain for a notable duration.

      Inmate Letter Campaign
      Saving lives one letter at a time


      2009:


      ELMER RAY ROBINSON, TX

      Cards of encouragement can be sent to:

      Elmer Ray Robinson #1244111
      Stiles Unit
      3063 FM 3514
      Beaumont, TX 77705-7635

      Mr. Robinson has been suffering from a deteriorating Spinal Cord. His X-rays revealed this disease and he is in chronic pain that is not being relieved. Mr. Robinson also suffers from Vertigo and High Blood Pressure. Mr. Robinson was prescribed medical boots for his deteriorating spinal problems several years ago and they were never given to him. He was also not allowed to have an extra or egg crate mattress to alleviate the painful condition of his back problems.

      Mr. Robinson has been seeking medical help for several years from the TDCJ. Treatment has been slow in coming and in fact, he has been refused any and all relief. From the beginning of 2008 letters have been written to the various arms of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Corrections. Organizations have been contacted.. Requests have gone out for Elmer to receive the medical boots and extra mattress and pain relieving treatment to end what has turned out to be a journey in long term suffering.

      From these various arms of the TDCJ have come the same responses. The Ombudsman Office, Chief of Professional Standards in Health Services, the Program Supervisor of Health Services Division, the Warden at Stiles Unit, the Investigator, Patient Liaison and the Lt.. Governor. All have said that Elmer is getting the best medical care, they sent the letter to someone else for review, Elmer had to follow the grievance process (not clarifying how many more years of filing grievances it would take before he received help) or just coming out and saying they don't allow any inmate anything extra and the process of getting medical boots takes time. (This process of getting medical boots has taken years).

      In an updated letter Mr. Robinson informs us that after all these years, due to the efforts of the volunteers that give so generously give of their time to the Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition, he has received approval for his medical boots and has been given a date of September 2009 to see the doctor for his fitting. We will be asking for updates on this issue to monitor how long this process takes.

      Elmer still struggles with the pain and is only given Ibuprofen 600 and this is not alleviating the pain. He also needs an extra mattress or an egg crate mattress to help alleviate the pain. If there is any treatment to stop the Degenerative Spinal Cord Disease this needs to be addressed by the Health Services Dept of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and proper treatment administered. Treatment for degenerative spinal disorders depends on the severity of the condition. Some problems can be treated with bed rest and oral pain medication and physical therapy. There are options such as surgery and these are done when the deterioration has become so advanced that the pain can't be alleviated without it. Physical therapy is used the most for the vast majority of patients and can provide temporary pain relief. Left to degenerate the nerve pain travels throughout the entire body. There is no relief at all. This is when surgery is needed. It has been suggested that spinal degenerative diseases are at least in part caused by the lack of proper nutrition and not enough vitamin B-12. Excellent results have been obtained through surgery and most patients are able to normally function in a matter of weeks. Surgery alleviates the pressure on the cord and provides relief of pain for a notable duration.

      You can help by writing to the following people on behalf of Elmer:

      Representative Jerry Madden
      Capitol Building
      Room GW.11
      Austin, TX 78701
      Ph: (512) 463-0544
      Fax: (512) 463-9974
      Web Form:
      http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=67&rep=jerry.madden

      Representative Todd Hunter, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Chair
      Room E2.808, Capitol Extension
      Austin, TX 78701
      Ph: (512) 463-0672
      Web Form:
      http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=32&rep=todd.hunter

      Senator Jeff Wentworth, Jurisprudence, Chair
      P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station
      Austin, TX 78711
      Ph: (512) 463-0125
      Web Form:
      http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist25/dist25.htm#form

      Senator John Whitmire, Criminal Justice, Chair
      P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station
      Austin, TX 78711
      Ph: (512) 463-0115
      Web Form:
      http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist15/dist15.htm#form

      Rick Perry, Governor
      Office of the Governor
      P.O. Box 12428
      Austin, Texas 78711
      Ph: (512) 463-2000
      Fax: (512) 463-1849
      Email/Web Form: governor.state.tx.us/contact/

      Brad Livingston, Executive Director
      Texas Department of Criminal Justice
      P.O. Box 13084-Capitol Station
      Austin, Texas 78711-3084
      Ph: 512-463-9988
      Fax: 512-936-2169

      Texas Civil Rights Project
      Jim Harrington - Director, Texas Civil Rights Project
      Prisoner Rights Program
      The Michael Tigar Human Rights Center Austin, TX 78741-3436
      Ph: (512) 474-5073
      Email: questions@texascivilrightsproject.org

      ACLU Foundation of Texas
      Prison & Jail Accountability Project
      P.O. Box 12905
      Austin, TX 78711-2905

      ACLU of Texas--Prison & Jail Accountability Project
      Ph: (512) 441-007
      Website: http://www.aclutx.org


      I am sending this message because I felt compelled to tell this story:

      My brother was in prison since 1993 and was out in 2008, during his time in prison, he had medical neglect. They were giving him medications for Parkinsons, Hep C and diabetis, blood pressure. He went in the system standing up straight walking on his own two feet and he had Hep C. But when he came out he had all of these illnesses, but the doctors at the University here in San Antonio, TX, after many tests said the medications they were giving him messed him all up, he did not have Parkinsons, but he cannot walk, he is in a wheel chair that is how he came out. Now they have put him on the transplant list for a liver, which there is not much hope in that. Doctors tell him that prognosis is not good, his feet and legs are swollen. The reason for this story is because this is a testament of badly inmates are treated inside those walls and also the medical neglect from doctors working inside those walls. Those so called doctors do whatever they want and refuse medical service to whom they please without thought about the sick inmates. They have no compassion or understanding of the basic needs of all inmates. I am just sick and tired of hearing all the boloney they put out for the media to spread the word around to make everything look good and make them look good. But tyranny of these so called doctors and nurses has to be stopped somehow, somewhere by someone. My brother is not the only one that has been mis diagnosed, there are many inside, my personal feeling of these so called medical professionals is that they work there because nobody else will hire them and inside those walls nobody is checking on them. But remember this is my opinion and mine alone, retaliation inside those walls is horrible, if all the groups would get together as one for the inmates everyone would hear us loud and clear, there are so many groups out there and all are trying to do the same thing, you see it in the web, so what is wrong with our society that we cannot get together? I feel sad inside because i know that one day soon I will lose my brother, and there is so much anger and hate for the prison system. But I know God will give me peace, till next time peace and love to all

      GIS


      05/24/2009

      Reported by a TPNS Member:

      My husband asked me to help out a friend of his with a severe medical issue.

      The following letter was written by the inmate and I mailed it to the following with a personal note from me at well:

      William Stephens - Regional Director - Tennessee Colony, TX
      Nat'l Comm. on Correctional Health Care - Chicago IL
      Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson - Washington DC
      Senator John Whitmire - Austin, TX
      Debbie Liles - Office of Ombudsman - Huntsville
      Brad Livingston - Huntsville
      State Rep. Madden - Austin, TX
      American Correctional Association - Lanhan, MD
      Jeff Dicks, Medical Coalition - Beach Grove, TN
      Dr. Ben Raimer, UTMB Correctional Manager, Galveston
      Attorney Gen. of Texas
      Dr. L. Linthicum, TDCJ Medical Services Dir, Huntsville
      TX State Board of Med. Examiners Investigations Dept. - Austin

      This is lengthy but there is a lot of history behind it.

      To Whom It May Concern:

      I am currently incarcerated in the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). For some time now I've been suffering a monstrous, uneducable hernia in the upper portion of my abdomen. I am 47 yrs old today.

      I suppose the discomfort from it built gradually. At one point, the herniated areas of muscle tissue were a full 1.5 inches in diameter, with a very thin width of tissue dividing the two. The pain sat in shortly after that thin layer of tissue tore away, creating one huge, gaping hole allowing the protrusion of bowel and intestine. At that time or shortly over one year ago, I sought medical attention.

      Today the pain is constant and has intensified markedly. I can, in no way, fake this condition, or be labeled a malingerer. Not only am I forced to daily use medically-issued fiber drink to induce regularity, I cannot sit up for long periods due to the pressure applied to my ribs to the area, and I can no longer sleep on my stomach. I have difficulty bending at the waist, and the distended appearance of my abdomen is absolutely horrific!

      I, along with 42 unfortunate others finally made it to John Sealy hospital on May 1, 2009 after an unbelievably grueling two-day bus ride. It has been said that John Sealy personnel are somewhat derelict in their treatment of those of us here in TDCJ. I can only tell you of my experience.

      I was the very first inmate to be called to submit vital readings that day. I was then directed to Examination Room #12, on the 4th floor. As I lay in the room alone, I can easily hear conversation between interns standing a mere 15 feet away at the Nurse's Station. At one point, a more dominant, louder voice arose among the interns, giving instruction somewhat like a football coach beginning a pep talk. At the mention of "hernia surgeries", I did not miss a single word to follow. The speaker, who had absolutely no idea I lay mere feet away, proved to be a Dr. Jimenez.

      He went on to instruct this group of interns in regard to hernia surgeries, "They are not to be performed unless the hernia is uneducable or a matter of great urgency". However, I felt little concern due to these instructions; for I was confident that I'd easily meet any medical criteria.

      However, Jimenez continued in a quieter, more conspiratorial, but still audible tone, instructing these inters on how to word the medical record to downplay the severity of these hernias, while casually touching on the absence of a need for immediate surgery. This, I heard clearly, with my own God-given ears! This man blatantly instructed his underlings to falsify the medical record to appear if treatment was given, when in fact, there was none whatsoever. This saves the hospital a great deal of money, after all, we are mere inmates, while painting a pretty picture of their performance.

      Moments after my unavoidable eavesdropping an intern entered my room and introduced him-self. I regret to say, in all that followed, I am not able to recall this intern's name. Yet, such should be easy enough to learn. He seemed immediately impressed with the lump of bowel and intestine lying just beneath the surface of my skin. He volunteered, "Oh yes, we can fix this. We'll surely repair this for you." He referred at one point as the hernia being "uneducable" . Because I was not familiar with the term, he explained that it meant one could no longer force the bowel or intestine back through the breach in the abdominal wall. That was my understanding.

      The intern began to ask what I assumed were simple routine medical history question. Again, at this point, I have no fear that I might actually say anything that would play into Jimenez's plan to deny hernia surgeries. However, in answer as to whether I've experienced incidences of rectal bleeding, I foolishly admitted to a youthful hemorrhoid condition at the age of 17. I was quick to assure him that this condition developed due to my hobby of racing motorcycles, and having absolutely nothing to do with my hernia. As I lay on the examination table, my needs were legitimate, my condition severe to any learned medical person.

      The intern left the room to consult with his boss Jimenez, still standing at the Nurse's Station. The intern advised Jimenez, "I have a serious hernia condition in here. I'd like to hold him over tonight, allowing his surgery in the morning. However, there is some concern due to the rectal bleeding in his youth". This said to the very superior who'd just moments before, instructed this inter on how to gloss over, the bureaucratically whitewash any need for hernia surgeries.

      Jimenez entered the room, his intern close behind. He began the physical examination of my hernia while asking my age. He then asked if I'd ever had a "colonoscopy" . Sensing his possibly evading my need for treatment, I immediately assured him that my comment earlier regarding a hemorrhoid condition has nothing to do with my currently laying atop his table…. "And I know game when I hear it"…In an awkward attempt to diffuse the situation, the intern stepped in and offered to give me an on the spot rectal exam, in hopes of showing that a colonoscopy was not necessary. Jimenez, washing his hands at the sink, casually spoke over his shoulder to the intern, "Even if you don't find anything, I'll still demand the colonoscopy, and if he refuses those tests, there will be no surgery".

      Jimenez justified his lack of treatment by referring me for an unneeded colonoscopy. Even if the referring physician would do the exam, which is highly unlikely due to the fact that I was referred simply due to a child hood hemorrhoid condition, it would take me well over a year to return to that examination table, hoping for approval of this much needed surgery.

      In great frustration I asked Jimenez what constitutes, for him, a need for immediate surgery for a hernia. During his resigned explanation, he mentioned one "uneducable" , being unaware of the fact that I was now familiar with its meaning. In my anger, I could not continue to question him on his neglectful practices, or his particular unique code of ethics.

      In my group that day of 42, 6 were held over for treatment, some seeing no one at all after such a torturous journey. The remainders, me included, were placed back on the bus at the end of the day for that arduous trek back to our respective units. At its end, this trip took me 5 compete days for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

      I need this surgery desperately, and will agree to it now only if taken to John Sealy by transport van from the Coffield Unit. I simply cannot endure again, that horrendous 5-day bus ride. Please intervene on my behalf. I thank you for your time and consideration.

      Because I am currently incarcerated, and without benefit of emergency medical care, my particular condition in indeed a matter of LIFE or Death!

      Sincerely Jack Bowman


      RECENT RADIO PROGRAMS DISCUSSIONS ON PRISON HEALTHCARE

      The Power Hour

      Karen Russo, founder & director of The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute, Inc. appeared on The Power Hour syndicated radio broadcast 04/09/2009 regarding prison healthcare, death, questionable practices, bad prison death statistics, what families should be doing to fight for the life of the inmate incarcerated, and what state politicans refuse to do.

      Here is the direct links:
      1ST HOUR / 2ND HOUR

      The American Awakening Radio Broadcast

      Karen Russo was interviewed by The American Awakening Radio Show April 13, 2009.

      The 2-hour broadcast covered a wide range of topics regarding prison healthcare, death and what families can and should be doing.

      You can listen to the 2-hour program by accessing the following links:
      1ST HOUR / 2ND HOUR

      Pass it on to your circle of contacts and especially those who need the information and help.


      The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute

      If anyone is aware of cases of inmate medical neglect I would encourage you to contact the Wrongful Death and Injury Institute using the details below. I've volunteered with them for several years and they do a great job.

      Thanks, Phillipa

      Wrongful Death and Injury Institute Inc.
      1100 East Red Bridge Road
      Kansas City, Missouri 64131
      Phone: 816.941.0087 / Fax: 816.892.4603
      Web Address: wrongfuldeathinstitute
      E-Mail: DeathInstitute@aol.com

      PRESS RELEASE
      March 2009

      Consider for a moment people who have been…
      • Inappropriately treated for diabetes,
      • have Stage IV wounds untreated,
      • broken bones inappropriately treated,
      • amputations performed due to lack of medical care,
      • withheld medications,
      • non-treatment for Hepatitis C,
      • misdiagnosis of Hepatitis C,
      • cancer treated with Robitussin,
      • denied use informed consent rule,
      • patients encouraged not to appoint power of attorneys or have Advanced Directives or “DNR’s” (do not resuscitate) in place,
      • incomplete treatment for TB.

      Its medical treatment at it’s worst. It is also standard prison medical care across this country– paid for by inmate families and taxpayers – in states across this country.

      Prison managed care companies continues to take advantage of the public’s ill will toward inmates to give poor care (or no care) while making a profit. A big profit. At the public’s expense. These managed health care companies are very creative at avoiding treatment costs while appearing to provide a façade of care. Incarcerated patients incur either permanent medical disabilities or die. Their cost avoidance techniques go too far when they are utilized to hasten the death of inmates. They are experts at delaying medical care to pad profits while at the same time have a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” mentality.

      Still, the majority of Americans give little thought to the health care issues of prison inmates. After all, they are criminals. However, one woman does care.

      Karen Russo, a native of Kansas City, has taken on the prison healthcare system, the medical examiner system and funeral home industry nationwide addressing their individual and collective bad practices. Russo has become the voice for sick and dying inmates and for the unassuming taxpayers who foot the bill for the prison HMO.

      Historically, what she has accomplished so far has invited the interest of Harper’s Magazine, ABC news, and CBS’s 60 minutes. And most recently, will be appearing on The Alex Jones Radio Show March 24, 2009 at 2:00, CST.

      You can hear the program live and/or access “streaming radio” through their website:
      INFORWARS

      You don’t want to miss it.

      The story is a compelling look into prison HMO’s where the traditional principles of informed patient decision making and choice, patient autonomy, and, “do no harm” does not exist.

      You’ll be inspired by Karen’s personal story, aggravated by government waste and corporate greed, and will learn what you as family members and friends should actively be doing now to protect your loved one incarcerated.

      Tune In!


      Prison HMOs

      The Basics:

      In order to understand the prison HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or a hybrid HMO healthcare provider, one must first have a working knowledge and understanding of the HMO as it exists in general society. Armed with that knowledge as a foundation, and the "outside" HMO as a template, only then can one understand the tricks and traps of the Prison HMO, and how it utilizes those tricks and traps to their advantage---and the inmate patient's disadvantage.


      The HMO In Society

      Managed health care in the United States has grown by leaps and bounds. According to a 1996 Consumer Report article, How Good Is Your Health Plan (August 1996, p. 29), half of all Americans at that time who had health insurance received their benefits through some form of HMO. That number has since increased.

      Problems arise because of the incongruous elements of an HMO. HMOs are neither 100% "health care provider" nor are they 100% an "insurer". They are a business, and just as with any business, they're in business to make a profit. Statutes governing HMO operations vary from state to state. Realize also, that state statutes that deal with deceptive and unfair trade practices may apply to an HMO case; and while medical malpractice and negligence laws are usually pertinent; the laws that govern how insurance companies do business may equally be applicable.


      The HMO Behind Bars

      The HMO behind bars (the Prison HMO) takes advantage of the public's ill will toward offenders to justify giving poor healthcare while at the same time making a profit. Patient inmates die as a result of negligence, indifference, malpractice, inadequate training, non-qualified and non-licensed personnel and cost cutting. Encounters with an HMO behind bars can become a death sentence, even for offenders whose cases have not yet gone to trial (those in jails or detention centers) or who have been convicted of relatively minor crimes. Many are people with curable conditions.

      In the free world, a sick person has choices - even you as an HMO patient have choices. You can switch doctors or health plans if you're not satisfied. Clearly in a prison setting that is not the case.


      Prison Healthcare - On the Inside

      Patients in prison are summarily ignored. It can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 months or longer to been seen by a prison doctor. Medical emergencies aren't; unless you're in the process of dying-whether by heart attack or end-stage liver disease.

      Inmate patients state their concerns to doctors and prison medical personnel only to be met with apathy and non-treatment by the doctors and nursing staff. Inmate requests for detailed information about their condition(s) or medications are met with disdain and disgust, and are denied the information. If a doctor doesn't like the questions or inferences of questionable treatment and healthcare, that doctor and nursing staff can (will) retaliate against that patient and will utilize a variety of ways to do so especially if that inmate has no outside support --- from family or friends.

      Inmate patients can request tests for specific conditions and be denied those tests. They can be forced to succumb to other medical tests for conditions they do not have. If they refuse the unnecessary tests, they may be "written up" for refusing treatment, and subsequently not treated for any current or future conditions.

      Inmate patients are lied to about their health conditions. Inmate patients can be dying of cancer and told they have the flu. Inmate patients can have bleeding ulcers and be treated with antacids. Inmate patients can be told that their blood work and enzyme levels are 'normal' when in fact they are in end-stage liver disease, and eligible for medical parole. Inmate patients may have brain tumors and be treated for migraines. The result? Permanently disability or death.

      It is this defiance by the Prison HMO, or other healthcare providers and your State Department of Corrections that ensure that the medical provider company nets a profit at the end of each fiscal year. As a result of not providing adequate treatment to your prison population, it saves your State millions of dollars.

      Inmate patients not only have limited access to accurate and factual information from both the medical provider and the prison itself; but are subject to retaliation techniques if they (a) are aggressive in obtaining needed healthcare and/or (b) have no outside support from family and/or friends. Additionally, they do not have timely access to attorneys; and are continually denied their right to informed consent.


      Prison HMOs
      They Do Affect (Effect) You

      The HMO out in society just like the Prison HMO, is a business that makes money, lots of money. And just as with the Prison HMO so it is with the HMO in society-the more money for the HMOs, the less for patient healthcare.

      If you are one of the ill-informed and hold the belief that "you don't care about whether or not inmates receive adequate healthcare" think again. If you are one of the millions in this country that cannot afford healthcare yourself, or for your children, and you are of the belief, that these to HMO systems-the HMOs in society and the Prison HMO are unrelated and don't concern you, think again. Your tax dollars are paying for both. If unconvinced perhaps numbers will drive the point home to you:

      Nearly 600,000 inmates are released each year, many of them riddled with disease.

      According to the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics, 24,000 inmates nationwide were HIV positive (in 1996). A more recent study by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC) put the number with HIV as high as 47,000; 10 times higher than the rate in the general population. That number has gone up.

      TB, which is a lung disease, spreads rapidly through the air in enclosed spaces, infects 1 in 4 people in some prisons, compared to less than 1 in 10,000 in the general population.

      Hepatitis C, often a lethal liver disease, spread by blood exchange, infects approximately 41% of the inmates just in California prisons alone; compared to less than 2% of the population at large.


      What Can You Do?

      Whether an inmate or a member of free society, if you suspect negligence, medical malpractice or neglect, have suffered a personal injury by a work related accident, vehicle accident, are having difficulty getting approval from your healthcare provider for specific tests, surgeries or procedures, or a death has occurred in or as a result from:

      ^ A State Department of Corrections
      ^ Jail or Detention Center
      ^ A Prison Healthcare Provider
      ^ A hospital
      ^ Nursing Home / Elder Abuse
      ^ Physician or Nursing Staff

      Contact our Consulting Services and utilize our free Attorney Referral Service.

      CONTACT INFORMATION:
      The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute Inc.
      By E-Mail: DeathInstitute@aim.com
      Or Phone: 816.941.0087
      If you have an emergency and
      Need immediate assistance
      Call: 816.941.0087
      Our phone is monitored 24 hours/day.


    2008:


      Medical Alert in Texas Women's Prison

      To whom this should concern:

      I am writing this on behalf of Ms. Alesha Smith (699350), Ms Tiffany Marie Brown (620484), and any other human being who has received excessive sentencing for crimes as a teenager while under the influence of drugs.

      I am deeply concerned over the inconsistency of the administration of prescription drugs inside TDCJ. Not only is this a physical health hazard but for inmates who receive anti-depressants the off and on delivery of these drugs causes emotional crisis which lead to major cases and thus canceling out possible parole in the future. If the inmates are given a prescription for any mood altering drug, they need to have this prescription refilled on a regular, stable basis or their moods will alter dramatically. This should be considered in parole evaluations. Just looking at the black and white page reading one major case in 2 1/2 years and stamping parole denied due to lack of adjustment to the system is not a just decision when that case happened when the inmate was not receiving medication.

      When an inmate, for whatever reason, fails to recieve their prescription, it takes four days for a letter to arrive to me in which they ask if I can help them recieve their medication. This is after they have dropped forms requesting help from the medical staff. If and only if I am signed on to their medical release form, can I then call the department and ask them to make sure the inmate receives their medication. If I am not on the list, there are further delays. I agree it is necessary to have policys and procedures, however while we are following policy, the inmate's emotional system is reeking havoc and cases will be written up...and parole denied.

      When teenagers are convicted of drug related crimes and receive 40 year sentences, they as human beings, are bound to go through depression and consider suicide. This happened to both Alesha and Tiffany. A stable and consistant program is needed here. What they have received inside TDCJ since I have known them, is the exact opposite.

      I met Alesha Smith approximately ten years ago when another inmate wrote to me saying that Alesha wasn't receiving her psych meds and that the guards were verbally baiting her in order to be entertained by her reactions. Five inmates witnessed this and gave statements. This problem was resolved through the help of the warden. However in the meantime, the documentation on Alesha remained accusatory without any notations that here psych meds had been cut off.

      A few months later, Alesha was transferred to another unit and once again was unable to obtain her meds. She had to go through another period of maladjustment on the books which also does not record the underlying reason for her emotional outbreaks. Any human being on psych drugs needs a consistant application or they will not be able to maintain social composure.

      This same sort of unreliable pharmacology has been applied to Tiffany Brown who I have known for approximately nine years. Last month Ms Brown asked me to call the medical department because she was no longer receiving her pills for nausea which were prescribed at John Seely along with cancer preventative medication. Ms Brown had transferred from Carol Young to Sycamore and then to Hilltop for school. When I called the medical department, a cordial and very professional woman told me that the reason Tiffany's medication was not updated was because they hadn't transferred it from notes to the computor yet. This should have been done at John Seely. It must have been on the computor since she had been receiving her meds for some months after leaving Carol Young. These type of discrepancies in the medical computor system happen way too often. Once again this is not just a physical problem but an emotional plague on those human beings who have to depend upon the system to get their meds. In a span of ten years from Alesha's first request to this last one from Tiffany, I have not noticed any improvement in the medical records keeping.

      Both Ms Smith and Ms Brown received accessive time for their crime. Ms. Brown's aggravated robbery was snatching a purse. None of the crimes involved any weapons or bodily harm. How can people who stab someone and attempt to kill them get only 15 years? I am not defending the acts that these women committed during their teens under the infuence of drugs. I am defending these women now in their thirties. They have matured. They still have families and children who love them and want them home. After 17 years they still are not hardened criminals. They are intelligent women who speak out for what they believe is just. They should not be condemned to more years of incarceration for that.

      These are two women who when told that anyone giving a dying inmate water or any assistance would receive a case...could not just sit and watch someone incapable of getting any other help just lie there and rot..These two would do what they could to help and risk getting a case.*

      These two women believe that if they must follow policy and procedure than the guards must follow policy and procedure as well. They have written countless grievances about guards not following TDCJ policy and have reaped countless cases based on retaliation.

      These are women who have a reputation for not shutting up when other inmates are too afreaid to speak out. They are, upon that basis, classed as trouble makers and reap cases based on the fact that officers and guards do not want their own dirty linen hanging out on the line.

      These women, like myself, are far from perfect human beings. They readily admit to their mistakes. They have progressed way past teenage rebellion and drugs into mature women who are passionate for justice. What kind of justice is there in holding them past 17 years???

      These women could be utilized as part of their parole in programs for youth in Texas. They know exactly what it feels like to be caught up in the blind alley of drug infestation. They have suffered the consequences of their own youthfull actions and would be excellant and true adult guides pointing to something better than ending up behind the walls.

      After seventeen years why not let them try to help alleviate some of the problems? If they break parole they will go directly back inside the walls.

      Neither one of them tried to kill anyone so why not get them into a youth program to work off the rest of their sentence? If you have any doubts, visit with them. Go meet them. Their ability to speak up can be used as a positive and valuable asset for the state of Texas.

      Most Sincerely,
      Kathleen Knueppel
      Gresham Wi 54128

      *I have contacts that will verify the fact of the guards not allowing any help whatsoever to a dying woman and that they did threaten to write cases on any inmate who gave her water or any assistance.


      A man at my husband's unit recently died of a heart attack.

      But the reason he had the heart attack was because he was not given his heart medicine.

      I don't remember if it was because the unit ran out of it or if they just didn't give it to him, but regardless, that was the cause of the heart attack.

      All the inmates around knew that is what happened but the family will never know.

      It is sad.

      My husband sent home a list of his prescribed medication for me to look them up, 5 different pills for high blood pressure, and two of them said not to be taken with each other.

      The docs don't care.

      Looks like they just prescribe anything.

      It is scary for them to go to the doctor because they will be worse off than before they went. Inmates need to look out for themselves and be cautious about what the docs give them and try to find out info from the library or family members about their meds, just to be on the safe side.

      TPNS Member; Marleen


      NEW WEBSITE TO POST PRISONERS' ABUSES

      Greetings everyone:

      Do you have a love one in lockdown?
      Does he/she complain about physical or mental abuses?
      Are they being denied medicines or are locked down in solitary confinement for month on end?
      Have you complain to the "proper" authorities with no avail?
      Well here is a website to log your abuse complaints and to link with other activism on behalf of prisoners as well.

      EMERGENCY RESPONSE

      This is the website to log abuses, name names, and let other know what is happening behind the walls.

      Find out what is happening in the prison industrial complex that your tax dollars fund without your input.

      Torture and death happens everyday right here in the United States Prison System.

      Get in touch with the truth and let people know that prisoner are still human beings.

      Log on to: EMERGENCY RESPONSE

      Hello my name is Ham'diya Mu (intercityvisionary ) and I'm with the Human Rights Coalition here in Philadelphia, PA.

      HRC is an educational/ prisoners' rights advocacy group.

      Please check out our site and feel free to give us feedback so we can better serve inmates and their families and society.


      [This letter below is horrible on how our loved-ones are treated when they become sick/ill!
      This too needs to be reported to the SunSet Review Committee!!!]

      BELOW IS ONE CASE THAT WAS SENT TO TPNS.
      IT'S TIME TO TELL THE STORY IT'S TIME TO LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT OUR LOVED-ONES ARE DYING IN TX PRISON AND THEY WERE NOT SENTENCE TO DEATH ROW.

      Letter From The Sister of Dead Inmate;

      I am writing in regard to my brother Larry. He was an inmate in Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Tx. He died of renal cell cancer Sept 22,2004.

      To Whom it may concern,

      As a sister to a beloved brother who recently died in prison in Texas at the age of only 46 years old. I am seeking prison medical care reform. The medical care in Texas is atrocious. Something needs to be done to change his system.

      Many die needlessly because no one seems to care about them as human beings; therefore they are being treated inhumanely when it comes to their medical needs.

      My brother died of renal cell carcinoma. If the cancer had been caught early, as it should have been, he may not have died.

      Below is my account of my brothers cruel treatment at the hands of the prison officials and the medical staff of the Texas Dept. Of Criminal Justice.

      Around June 18th 2004, my sister Mariam called to tell me about the shocking news she has just learned from my brother. Larry Dupplechain, regarding the possibility that the pain he had been feeling in his shoulder for so long, may be bone cancer. My brother had been complaining for over a year about pain in different parts of his body before his cancer was FINALLY diagnosed.

      On June of 2003, while looking at an x-ray of his lungs, he asked the doctor if that spot should be there. The doctor told him no. Larry then asked the doctor shouldn't we find out what that spot is? The doctor just blew him off and told Larry he was not that worried about it.

      Larry then started having severe pain in his lower back. He complained over and over again about this acute pain to unit medical staff. An x-ray was finally ordered and the doctor noticed "something" on the x-ray. Larry was told he had severe arthritis and that it was unusual for someone his age to have that severe a form of arthritis. He was told to exercise more.

      Larry continued to complain about this severe back pain, but no one would take him seriously. Larry then started having severe pain in his right shoulder. Again he complained; about this awful pain. Once more, his complaints were ignored.

      The doctor finally ran an x-ray of Larry shoulder area and told him that nothing was wrong with his shoulder-again he was told he needed to "work it out".

      The pain worsened, and became so intense that Larry was unable to use his right shoulder and arm any more. Due to not being able to raise his arm because of the pain, his right arm shrunk to half the size of his left arm.

      Larry started to loose a lot of weight. Still his complaints that something was seriously wrong , continued to be ignored. According to the letters Larry wrote his family, the pain was constant and unbearably.

      These are the words he used in one letter to describe the pain in his shoulder (letter dated May 16 ,2004)

      "it burns and throbs and just plain out keeps me in agonizing miserable pain that goes on for every second of every minute of every hour of every day, 24 hours a day 7 days a week and non-stop. I am very serious about that! Even my cellie goes "God, 'I've never seen anyone in so much pain"...I mean I literally rock myself into complete total exhaustion before (hopefully)" I am able to get some sleep. As a matter of fact, I probably slept in the last 3 days a good 3 or 4 hours! And that is the truth. I can't sleep at all with all the ungodly constant pain I've been enduring for so--so--so- -long".

      He also wrote a medical complaint about this pain, describing in much same way and NO ONE would help him.

      Larry complained to the prison officials again and again. The doctors would only give him Motrin for the pain. He told them he needed an MRI done-that the pain was deep in his shoulder. Larry was told that would never be done because that test was too expensive.

      He even wrote a letter to the warden begging him to just come look at him-to see he was not "faking it"-that the pain was real and he needed help.

      An x-ray was finally done on Larry's shoulder on June 16,2004 and ONLY because the clavicle area of his shoulder had caved in. When the nurse on duty saw Larry's shoulder, she was appalled. The x-rays showed many white spots on Larry's right shoulder, his chest and down his right arm. He was told these spots could be bone cancer. These x-rays were sent by computer to one of the doctors ar John Sealy Hospital. When he viewed them he told the doctor at Estelle Unit to get Larry over to John Sealy Hospital in Galveston as soon as possible-on an emergency basis. It took Larry 3 weeks to actually make it to the hospital in Galveston.(Grievanc e WB Re#2004196851)

      When Larry finally did arrive it was determined that his cancer was in his kidneys, his lungs and his bones and was terminal. He was not given any further medical treatment. The only medication that was given to him for his severe pain was Tylenol 3 (not until my family obtained the help of an attorney-and only because we obtained an attorney)

      Once Larry was sent back to the Estelle unit, he was told over and over again that his cancer was treatable. Time after time, he was told that he would be going to John Sealy hospital to have tests run to determine what kind of cancer he had, but then he would never be sent. His pain only worsened. Again the only medication provided was Tylenol 3. My family wanted to know what Larry's prognosis was, but No One and I mean No One would tell us or Larry. I must have spoken to 20 people at the Estelle Unit and John Sealy. All I ever got was a run-a-round. When I called Estelle I was told Larry's records were at John Sealy. When I called John Sealy, I was told they were at the prison unit. Again, no one would give us a diagnosis or a prognosis.

      The Texas prison system has protected itself from giving out any information when it comes to the health of someone's loved one. I feel that the reason for this is because they know they are harming so many in the prison system and they don't know how many deaths have been due to medical neglect and indifference.

      Finally after contacting an attorney I was able to get some information on Larry. I spoke to A Mr. Powers from Estelle Unit and he told me that they thought Larry had renal cell carcinoma. From his research (on the internet), he did not believe that Larry had more than 3-8 months to live. This was such devastating news to my family, especially when we knew that Larry had been complaining and crying out for help for so long. We were told (by doctors and nurses outside of the prison system) that if this cancer were caught early, it was very curable. God had provided symptom after symptom so this cancer could have been caught early, but the uncaring people are the Texas Dept. Of Corrections "Refused" to listen to these signs and therefore I blame them for my brothers death.

      The next week when my sister Mariam and I went to visit Larry we asked him what the doctors have been telling him about his illness (at the time his arm was in a sling because he no longer had enough bone in his shoulder; to hold it up. He was in extreme pain and still only getting Tylenol 3). He said that no one was telling him anything, except to say he had cancer and they could treat it.

      However no one was treating him and he did not understand the reason why.

      We then decided that Larry needed to know the truth, so we told him what Mr. Powers told me about his diagnosis. He looked shocked. He then started crying, because he knew he would never get out of those prison walls alive. This was one of the hardest days of my life.

      Larry was not allowed contact visits that day and I wanted to hug and comfort him, but there was a wall between us. It was devastating to watch him walk back to his cell to deal with this news alone.

      The next week I called the medical unit at Estelle to find out why Larry was not getting any treatment for his cancer. As is always the case, when you contact that dept...I got the run-a-round. Denise Box assured me that Larry was being taken care of, that he was doing well and his pain was being treated. She also told me that Larry had an appointment to see the doctors at John Sealy hospital for treatment of his cancer. Mariam told me that when Larry came out to the visiting area, he was barely able to walk. He tried to sit down, but could not. He said he was in extreme pain in his chest area. My sister told him he had to sit down or they would not be allowed to visit. She said it took him 5 minutes to actually be able to sit down. She said that throughout their 2 hour visit, he moaned and cried from the pain he was in-this was in. She said that others in the visiting room kept looking at him with pity and concern. He told my sister if they were going to treat him like an animal, he wished they would go ahead and just kill him to get him out of the pain he was in I was appalled and horrified when Mariam called me that night with this report.

      During this visit Larry had told her that on Monday of that week he was to get his belongings because he was going on chain to John Sealy Hospital. When he reached down to pick up his typewriter, he was in such severe pain in his chest area (we were told later it was due to his lung cancer) that it took his breath away. He said an EKG was done at unit and he was told that nothing was wrong with his heart and he was sent back. He was never sent to John Sealy that week.

      He again begged for help and relief from his chest pain.

      Another EKG was done. Larry said the nurse on duty was upset because she had to work and was very rough with him. When he complained to her that she was hurting him , she got even more perturbed. After she completed the EKG she left the pads on his body. When he asked her if she was going to remove them, she told him to keep them as a present and refused to remove them Larry said that the pain continued all week and hurt so much he could not sit or lie down. So what he would have to do all week was is stand up until he was so exhausted that he collapsed into the bunk.

      When the guards would come by to give him his food or medicine, he would ask them if they could please bring these items to him because he could not get up fast enough for them. They refused to do even this for him. When he could finally get up he would ask them if he could have his food and medicine and they would tell him that he should have gotten up when they came-so he was not given food or pain medication, if he happened to be lying down.

      When visitation was over and time for Larry to go back to his cell, he asked Mariam to beg the warden on duty to not make him be strip searched, because the pain was so horrific. Mariam was told there was no warden on duty that day and this was not allowed. Mariam decided she could not go home and leave Larry in that condition. The sergeant told Mariam that he had no doubt Larry was in pain but that the problem was up to medical to place restrictions.

      The officer on duty also told Mariam that they were always having to rescue inmates that needed medical help at Estelle. This officer called medical dept and told them they needed to make sure Larry was being treated. He then told Mariam that the medical staff at Estelle would not allow Larry to die now... because they knew this officer had to do a report and this report would go to their supervisors. Mariam called the medical dept later that night to check on Larry, but everyone refused to give her any information about him. Mariam was told that they did not have to give out that information to an inmate's family Monday morning I called the medical dept. to see what was being done for Larry. I spoke to Mr. Powers who told me that Larry just happened to be in his office right then-that he was complaining of chest pains. He denied that Larry was in the condition that Mariam described to me on Saturday visitation. He said that they were treating Larry.

      I called my attorney to tell him what was going on. He called Mr. Powers and was told that Larry was being sent to John Sealy hospital because there was nothing they could do for him there. He also told my attorney that a reporter and someone from a Senator's office had called about Larry's condition (We had written letters to them regarding Larry's lack of medical treatment for his shoulder pain) I feel this was the only reason Larry was sent to John Sealy. I believe in my heart that the employees at the Estelle Unit would have left Larry to die in severe pain in lock up, as many other inmates have done in the past, if we had not contacted people outside the prison system.

      Mr. Powers told me later that afternoon that many inmates just pretend to be in pain to get help..trying to convince me this was the case with Larry. How awful that someone with this attitude is being paid to treat the inmates medical conditions at Estelle Unit..How very sad. When we went to visit Larry at John Sealy hospital (as my sister from Colorado said) the look on his face resembled the face of someone who had been in a Nazi camp. It was the look of someone who had been terrorized for a long time.

      According to Samatha McClanahan, an employee with the Offender Family Hotline, whose job it is to review medical neglect complaints by family members of inmates, Larry's condition was ignored. She sent this report to the University of Texas Medical Center. I was told that I could not get a copy of this report because I had contacted this dept by phone-so they only had to answer me by phone.. Again more Secrets.

      To add more cruelty to everything Larry had already suffered at the hands of the TDCJ/UTMB Larry was not allowed to go home to die in peace with his family. Even after and early parole board employee came to the hospice, saw how thin Larry was..he looked like an end stage aids patient by this time) SAW (that Larry had a catheter because it took to much out of him to walk to the toilet every time he had to urinate, SAW (that Larry has lost use of both of his arms due to his cancer) SAW (that Larry could harm no one) the parole board refused Larry's case so that Larry could be released from prison and die somewhere else other that inside those prison walls.

      I tried for over 3 weeks to get a priest to see Larry so he could receive the sacraments of the dying by the Catholic Church-first at the prison unit in Estelle, then at the prison hospital in Galveston and then at the hospice. However, as was the case when trying to get any help from anyone employed at TDCJ, no one would help get this accomplished.

      Before his death, it came to a point where Larry could no longer swallow or talk. This was very difficult to watch, because he wanted to talk to us badly and would try his best to relay some messages to us. Sometimes we could understand him, but at other times we could not. Three days before my brother passed away, he was forced-by TDCJ employees at Palestine to take a shower..which meant he was pulled out of his bed, put in a wheelchair and wheeled to the shower room to be sprayed down (this occurred every 2 days).

      He was told if he refused he would be locked down. This was an extremely painful, humiliating needless thing to do to him (we were told later..you could have requested a bed bath)..but no one ever told us of this fact until we asked if he could be bathed another way..should they have had to request this?

      After watching Larry suffer like this for 2 days I felt the urge to recite the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy by his bedside as he was sleeping. I asked our Lord to please show his Divine Mercy by ending Larry's suffering. I prayed that he would allow Larry to peacefully pass away soon. I cried during the entire prayer, knowing I would miss Larry terribly if my prayer was answered, but at the same time realizing how relieved I would be once Larrys life was no longer controled by the prison officials and he was no longer suffering.. and he was in Heaven at last.

      Jesus answered my prayed and my dearly beloved brother died the next day which was Sept 22, 2004. He died early in the morning, before visiting hours, so he died without his family by his side. I do believe in my heart though that Jesus was there to take Larry with him to heaven-away from that horrible place, that had been his home for the past 6 years of his life.

      During this terrible ordeal, my sister and I met families whose loved ones were dying in prison due to medical neglect. As was the case with Larry, most of their loved ones deaths could have been prevented had someone taken their complaints seriously.


      Listed below are some brief facts of other horror stories we were made aware of during the months we visited my brother during his illness.

      While waiting in the waiting area of John Sealy Hopsital to visit Larry:

      a.. 1) On August 7th 2 guards came in saying they had brought a woman inmate from Gatesville with a broken leg to be treated. Because the employees at John Sealy Hospital did not have the paperwork for her, they told the guards thay had to take her back to Gatesville until they received the paperwork. These guards begged and pleaded with the employees at the hospital to leave the inmate there (they said she had moaned and screamed out in pain the entire 5 hours to the hospital) Finally after about 30 minutes the hospital employees agreed she could be admitted, after a doctor agreed to sign the needed paperwork.

      b.. 2) August 8 2004. --A woman was there to see her son who had been on life support. She said he had pneumonia and was not taken care of while he was at Estelle Unit..(same unit my brother was in) She did not know if he was going to die.

      c.. 3) August 11, 2004-- A women's daughter had been complaining over and over to medical about not feeling well. She was ignored and collapsed. She was now in hospital due to kidney failure

      d.. 4) August 11 2004--Eight family members were called to the hospital to be given the sad news that their loved one was not going to make it. We were told by his family that he had been complaining for awhile about not feeling well. He was told he was just lazy and trying to get out of work.

      While visiting Larry at the Hospice

      September 1, 2004..2 sisters were there visiting their brother, who was dying of cirrhosis of the liver. Same story..ignored and refused care..He died several days after my brother.

      Sept 1.2004..A woman was there visiting her dying husband. He was in prison for a DWI and was scheduled to be released in April of 2005. He had been complaining for a long time that he was not feeling well. His complaints were ignored. He complained to his wife that he was so ill he could not stand up, but that they were forcing him to work anyway, He was finally sent to John Sealy and his wife was overjoyed he was going to get treatment, However, this joy was short lived. She found out several days later that his body was full of cancer and that he was not expected to live much longer. He passed away a week or so later. This inmate was only 42 years old. Shame on the employees of the Estelle Unit. Shame on their supervisors for not doing anything about their actions. Shame on the State of Texas and Dept of Corrections and UTMB for allowing this type of treatment to occur to inmates in their custody.

      ANOTHER CASE

      On July 9, 2004, my wife and myself were indicted by a grand jury and were subsequently arrested. After two months in jail I was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. While undergoing treatment (radiation and chemotherapy) I was told that if I pled guilty and Kelee pled quilty to lying to the grand jury the murder charges against her would be dropped and she would be sentenced to four years. If I didn't plead out, Kelee would have faced life in prison. I took the plea.


      FCT
      Murray Unit
      1916 N Hwy 36 Bypass
      Gatesville, Texas 76596

      April 3, 2006

      To who it may concern:
      My name is FCT. I've been incarcerated on Lane Murray Unit since Sept 1997. My complaint is with the medical department Dr. David Curtis MD. I've several life threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stomach problems, acute asthma, high blood pressure, clusters headaches, lower back pain.and latter my bowels syndrome, nueropathy in both feet and my veins are bulging with knots inside both legs. All because of my open heart double bypass done in the year 2000 at John Sealy Hospital produced by incorrect diagnosis and the lack of proper treatment.

      My problems today is coming from my uncontrollable diabetes. I am suffering with my feet and can not receive proper shoes. I've seen Dr. David Curtis MD on several occasion. Everytime I was rejected and was told basically that the only way he (Dr. Curtis) would make sure that I receive proper shoes and protection was if my feet were to look as if "a crocodile had eaten them! " and the only way for me to recieve support hose was if I were to lose weight. This was told to me on my last MD visit on 1-31-06.

      I've requested several times for Dr. Curtis MD to help me get medical shoes or write an I-C so that my family can purchase the shoes with the warden permission or refer me to PT (Physical Thereapy). I've begged for the paperwork for purchase from my family to receive proper fitting shoes. The shoes would protect and support my body weight, balance my feet, help with the nueropathy and help keep my veins from swelling and bulging.

      Dr. David Curtis MD keep saying that the state of Texas has no money to take care of the seriously ill patients like myself. If this is true and so far I can say that we on Layne Murray Unit is not getting the proper professional and ensured medical treatments that our congress and senate and all government officials has introduced and received funding for such medical treatments and programs.

      We're only tested on every Monday due to lack of supplies. We are given a peanut butter and jelly 3 to 4 times a week for snack. The other two days are cheese or maybe a hamburger patty. We are made to suffer only because we are inmates awarded to the state of Texas. This is not constitutional!! As for myself and many others heart attacks are very prominent on this unit alone! There are no proper evaluations for special needs release, no proper medicines and lack of treatment 98 percent of the time and not within the reasonable time frame or detecting once our complaint is given. Many times my complaints are made into a joke or just simply NOT heard.! Because of my illness diabetic, my eyes have cataracts but only because I am an inmate the thing that I am qualified for took me two years to get. My vision is poor! But I must wait until I am at home a freewoman before I can have surgery on my eyes. The saddest part about this system is that many of us (the inmates) worked and paid taxes for years! We made a mistake that the system of TDCJ is continually re-sentencing as well as denying us our human rights.! We have no voice! May God help us and get some help for the prisoners. We are treated less then any animal or insect on this face of the earth, we are considered nothing! Worthless! But a dollar a head, the money is going into pockets not programs and health care for the person that sin, the less fortunate that made a mistake, the inmate, the prisoner.

      I am begging for help! We need this system to be over haul. We need a millennium 20th century system not a 1800"s. Please hear my voice and look into our medicals complaints, deaths, and miss diagnosis. Also look into our medical staff's history of work and look at our dietary programs.

      Thank you for your time
      Sincerely,
      FCT


      Another case of
      denied medical attention:

      "There's a problem going on and it concerns us all being this is a medical unit.

      There are new washing machine operators.
      They are either overloading the washers without adding extra soap and bleach or they have cut back on the soap and bleach.

      On this unit we are not allowed to wash our personal clothes.

      We are issued what's called a mesh bag and we put our clothes in it and turn it in to be washed.

      Everybody's mesh bag is washed together.
      There has been a problem.
      Our clothes in our mesh bag is coming out dirty and grimey.

      Brand new t-shirts, sport bras comes out dingy.
      It was not like this before.
      And I am concerned for all of us because being this a medical faciltiy and people have all types of infectious diseases like staph and scabbies their clothes are washed with all the others.

      Lots of ladies are complaining to the Captain Walton who is over laundry but we have the same problem.

      Do you think you can make a few calls here so we can get clean clothes again.

      We can get a case if we are caught washing
      (if the officer want to enforce it).

      I have stopped turning in my bag because my clothes came back dingy.
      I wash them in the shower.
      I feel this is a great health issue being this is a medical facility.

      Concerned Female Prisoner
      Carole Young Medical Facility
      Rt 4 Box 1174
      Dickinson Tx 77539


      Suffering Inmates/Inadequate Medical Care
      By UTMB:

      David Marin #562385
      1200 Fm 655
      Rosharon Texas
      Got ill March 2002
      Bleeding from rectum (psuedomembrane Colites)
      was seen at John Sealy 3-4 times,
      medications were prescribed,
      but substituted (Sulfasalazin)
      which made him worse
      other medications were altogether denied
      once he returned to his unit.
      He is being threatened with violence
      by cellmates due to the fact
      he soils his clothes with fecal
      matter which has a foul oder
      and also is bleeding rectally.
      UPDATED NEWS 2004:
      DAVID HAS NOW BEEN TRANSFER
      TO A MEDICAL UNIT AND RECEIVING
      BETTER CARE!
      THANKS TO HIS FAMILY, TPLU AND TES.

      Andrew Earl Williams #751192
      8602 Peach St. Monford Tc-4-19
      Lubbock Texas 79404-7705
      Hep c and heart lung problems,
      not getting any treatments.

      R. Garcia #792815
      PO Box 16
      Lovelady TX 75851
      Denial Dental care.

      Kelvin Thomas #815684
      Jester III Unit Plantation
      Richmond Tx 77469
      Is paralyzed from the chest down,
      said they are not doing
      what the doctors in Glaveston ordered.
      UPDATED REPORT:
      THANKS TO TX CURE,
      KELVIN IS NOW PAROLED HOME
      AND DOING WELL.

      Charles Hubert Meneil #405019
      E2-C2 Jester 4
      Richmond TX 77469
      Has a film and knots on his private parts,
      no treatments.

      Dalton Vaughn #776917
      1300 FM 655 Dorm-A2-49
      Rosharon Texas
      Went to John Sealy Hospital for oral surgery.
      They refused to treat him stating he was too old he is 81.



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