ANOTHER horrific story of prison “health care”! What will it take for this to change? The death of the Governor’s son or daughter addict who died due to clear neglect?! WHAT??!
Here is what can end it! Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse and Police Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards!
In each and every case like this the victims’ survivors should relate the facts and “raise as much hell as legally possible” to the licenses of the medical personnel revoked – doctors and nurses.
Excerpts from the Article:
When Maureen Heatley last saw her son he was crying uncontrollably on the floor of his upstate New York prison. Todd Heatley was so distraught and confused he didn’t recognize his mother despite her weekly visits to the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo.
“He was totally disoriented,” Maureen, a social worker, recalled of the visit in November 2014.
She cut the visit short and begged correction staff to take him to a specialized medical unit where he could receive proper treatment. That never happened.
Three days later Heatley, 33, was found hanging from a torn sheet attached to his cell door. He died a few hours later.
A state medical review board charged with probing prisoner deaths concluded that Heatley may be still alive had he gotten proper medical care.
“Facility staff failed to recognize the escalation of symptoms and neglected to initiate appropriate interventions which may have prevented his death,” said the board’s report, which was obtained by the Daily News through a Freedom of Information Law request. The reports are not posted online and largely remain hidden from the public and affected family members.
After her son died, Maureen Heatley asked for a copy of the medical review, to no avail. “I never got any information,” she said.
His case is not an anomaly.
All told, the board concluded that the deaths of approximately 50 prisoners statewide over the past five years could have been prevented with simple medical treatment. Officials with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision say that even one such case is unacceptable, but that only around 0.02% of the total prison population of nearly 50,000 are referenced in the reports.
“How many more avoidable deaths will occur before the state addresses these serious and persistent problems?” he added.
State Correction Commission review panels repeatedly found medical staff failed to conduct basic checkups and mental health screenings. Doctors and nurses regularly ignored serious ailments until it was too late, according to the reviews.
Multiple deaths involved mentally ill prisoners who committed suicide after they were continually tossed in solitary confinement. At least four prisoners died from asthma-related ailments that could have been prevented had they been given inhalers and other medications.
The scathing death review reports come as Gov. Cuomo pushes for a more robust plan to shut down the jails on the city-controlled Rikers Island. Mayor de Blasio’s 10-year closure plan is “tantamount to saying we have no real plan to close it,” Cuomo’s counsel, Alphonso David, said in April 2017.
But Cuomo has done little to improve medical care for the 48,132 prisoners his administration oversees, critics contend. “He really should be looking at his own system and seeing what those problems are,” Beck said.
The number of health care practitioners employed by the department has decreased by 3% over the past five years, according to DOCCS. The department currently employees 89 clinical physicians, 18 physician assistants, 849 nurses, and almost 28 nurse practitioners. DOCCS did not provide comparable raw figures for five years ago.
Beck says that state budget documents actually show that figure of full-time medical staff is actually down 17.6% over the past five years. By all accounts, a part of the staff reduction is tied to a 9% drop in the prison population over the past five years.
At Elmira Correctional Facility in Chemung County, a clinical physician position was open from August 2012 through October 2016, records show. In some prisons, there’s only one doctor overseeing the care of more than 500 prisoners, according to the Correctional Association.
Hiring delays are in part due to bureaucratic red tape and a starting salary that is often $10,000 or more below private sector pay.
Overall, the death reports reveal that some of the fatalities involved nurses and doctors ignoring repeated pleas for help. Prison insiders say staff frequently believe prisoners are lying about the severity of their condition in order to get moved to a preferred housing unit or to get drugs.
In approximately 50 of the close to 80 death review cases, the medical review board ordered prison and health officials to change or update procedures. But those orders seem to do little to improve matters,
After his death, prison officials shipped two cardboard boxes of his belongings to his mother. She has never opened them.