As she lay…

Burnette, Chanell



As She Lay 9/2/19 "It is with tremendous sadness and under unfortunate circumstances in which this writing arises. However, the deceased no longer have a voice; so I will speak out of respect for the young lady that recently passed away from a drug overdose. At the very moment I sat writing my last essay, there was a young lady in distress. Fighting for the very breath which would become her last before the age of thirty. Right here inside this physical prison. Worse, she was in the mental prison that obviously became her entrapment for reasons unknown. Poor thing. It is with great devastation that I disclose the following information. And even though I did not know the young lady, I feel that people out there must know the lack of regard, respect and care in general that was shown to her. The details revealed to me from an offender housed in the same wing as the young lady brought me to tears. If this was my reaction in simply hearing of it, I cannot even fathom how the offenders who witnessed this whole tragedy must have felt. It had to be traumatizing for them all! It has to be a visual that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Images like that are not easily forgotten. I was informed that at the count proceedings, neither officer conducting count bothered to ask her to stand. No one even knew that she had taken her last breath already right on her prison cot. When her roommate attempted to wake her but could not, she called for an officer. Due to the hysteria of the women within the wing, the officer arrived immediately. Yet, it was too little too late for this young lady. Other officers were called in along with the Unit Manager who pulled her off of her bunk and gave his best attempt to administer CPR and revive her, but his efforts were futile. She was already gone. The code blue call went out over the prison's P.A. system. But horribly, and as usual, the nurses were slow to arrive. A code blue is something which requires a rapid response, unquestionably! But I'm sure it would have taken too much breath and effort for the nurses to run and rush to her aid. But I'm almost certain that it took her more breath and effort to fight for her young life! If the code blue call was not bad enough, what was even worse was the fact that there was no Narcan brought to help revive her! How was that forgotten? Especially since the nurses took their sweet time arriving to render help to this poor soul. So... At that point, they were forced to run all of the way back to the infirmary to retrieve the Narcan. Once again, too little too late for her. Eventually an ambulance was called in. Their attempts to resuscitate her proved to be in vain, also. She was gone. Gone before the age of thirty. The ambulance departed. Departed without this young woman in back. She was gone. She was gone; yet not respected enough to have a sheet cover her lifeless body. As she lay on the cold tile floor, a shower curtain was thrown over the window of the cell door. I would say for privacy for the deceased, but this is Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, so I know better. As she lay, gone and uncovered, two officers sat outside of her cell just relieved to not have to be conducting security rounds. A break for them. A little time off from being bothered. They laughed and conversed as this soul lay with the rest of her life off. The coroner was summoned who arrived to pronounce her deceased. And who also left her to lay uncovered and alone. For hours. As she lay, other offenders were released from inside locked cells and escorted one by one to be strip searched. Searched for drugs. Searched. As she lay. No drugs were ever found. Except the ones in this young lady's system ending her life. Written by Chanell Burnette

Author: Burnette, Chanell

Author Location: Virginia

Date: September 16, 2019

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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