Comments on medical services in California prisons
Comments on Medical Services in California Prisons
Submitted by Stan Moore
12 April, 2019
I have been in California prisons since later summer of 2015, when I was sent to reception at San Quentin. I got off the bus with a urinary catheter and leg bag due to a presumed prostate problem that arose when I was awaiting sentencing at Marin County Jail. At San Quentin they diagnosed a bladder infection and put me on antibiotics for a week. The infection went away, the catheter was removed, and I could pee again, but was still treated daily with the prostate drug Tamsolusin.
I arrived at mainline California Mens Colony West in November, 2015. I still had weak urine stream when peeing, and Finasteride was added to my treatment regime and I went to an outside urologist for consultation. He did a digital rectal exam of my prostate and noted its enlarged state and recommended a bioposy and another procedure by which a camera is run through the the urethra and the bladder is examined. Not long after, I received the bladder screening but no biopsy ever occurred.
I had more and more problems with my prostate over time. The doses of tamulosin and finasteride were doubled. Still problems persisted. My PSA went up from 4.7 to 10.0 and finally an MRI was ordered. The MRI took place 3 years after the first urologist consultation and found a enlarged prostate estimated at 93 grams weight compared to 25 grams for a normal prostate. And my prostate had a very large lesion, suggesting serious cancer, I was told.
Two months later, I received the prostate biopsy. It revealed a Gleason score of (5+4) 9, indicating advanced, aggressive cancer, which the urologist indicated is incurable. He said that he could keep me alive for 5 years, but treatments would be difficult and likely have significant side effects. I am still awaiting a bone scan to help with determining the exact stage of my cancer.
What I have now experienced seems to follow a pattern with four other CMC West inmates who had symptoms suggesting cancer, but who did not receive a formal medical diagnosis until the cancer was stage 4 and incurable.
My Mens Advisory Council representative here at CMC West Golf Yard told me this week that consideration is being given to demanding that California prisons be placed once again under federal receivership to help ensure adequate supervision of the prison medical care system. Apparently, CDCR has regressed since being removed from federal medical supervision earlier. Perhaps my cancer would have been diagnosed in time for effective treatment if the feds were still in charge.
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.