How Long Can the
Avoid Responsibility for Inferior Medical Care?
By Derek Gilna
As you know, I have previously written about substandard
medical care, which has cost untold suffering and even death from inexcusable
neglect. It is clear that the BOP
is facing a potential flood of litigation and damage claims for this cold and
calculating practice, attempting to balance their budgets by failing to provide
proper health services to their prisoners.
No story that I have written has received more heartfelt response than
More and more federal class actions have been filed against state
some have settled, including one involving the state of .
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a federal
class action lawsuit on behalf more than 33,000 in the Arizona Department of
Corrections, the Arizona Arizona DOC has one of the
“worst prison health care systems” in the country.
Dr. Robert Cohen, a medical expert who has himself overseen prisoner health care systems in the past, found that at least 13 of the 29 prisoners whose cases he reviewed received “grossly deficient” care. He cited one instance of a prisoner who requested HIV testing twice being denied and later dying of AIDS, and another instance where a prisoner passed away after being refused treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a result he termed, “shocking.”
Prisoners who complained were told to “be patient...it’s all in your head.. (or) pray…” The
complaint continued: “Defendants are deliberately indifferent to the
substantial risk of pain and suffering to prisoners, including deaths, which
occur due to Defendants’ failure to provide minimally adequate health care, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. Does this
sound familiar? He could also be describing
the current condition of medical care in the Arizona BOP.
is playing the odds, hoping that you will give up, not assert your
constitutional rights, or become too ill or infirm to advocate for
yourself. I am telling you that it is
not impossible to get relief. It may
take months, and yes, it may take some money, but there are avenues for relief,
if not outright release. Remember, the
Americans with Disabilities Act still applies to you even if you are in prison. The courts are not ignorant of the BOP
health care fiasco, and more and more cases are wending their way through the
system. It’s not too late to save your
life and health.
Oh, and the answer to the question I asked in the beginning? The answer is: as long as you let them get away with it.