Misrepresentations and blatant lies of prison medical care

Arthur, Steven

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Misrepresentations and Blatant Lies of Prison Medical Care By Steven P. Arthur There are many decisions to be weighed during the negotiations and penalty phase of a criminal conviction. The length of sentence, location of incarceration, security level, and available resources in a particular system, to name a few. One of the most important of these decisions of available resources, if not the most important, is medical care. During my court proceedings I was given the option of sentencing in a State or Federal court. This, I thought at the time, was very fortunate. It would allow me more options and perhaps a more comfortable environment to "do my time." I have hypertension (high blood pressure), so in consideration of the long term effects of my condition, medical care weighed heavily in my decision for State or Federal incarceration. I spoke to both my State and Federal attorneys, who assured me on several occasions of the superiority of the medical care in the Federal Bureau Prisons system. Which, at the time, only reassured me of what I had suspected through my own experiences with California State Prison medical care. Prior to my arrest and subsequent conviction, I was a California licensed Paramedic with security clearance to enter prisons in several counties to transport prisoners to local area hospitals. I haven't had experience with the California Department of Corrections as a prisoner. But 1 have had many years of working with them in the capacity of a paramedic, transporting prison patients from State prison medical staff to area hospitals in both emergency and non-emergency situations. In my experience, incompetency was more the rule then the exception. I have seen nursing staff attempt ventilation on a pulseless non-breathing patient, with an occluded airway. The patients cheeks were puffing out and his stomach was distended. Obvious signs that the patients airway was not clear and his lungs were not being ventilated. Upon arrival, my immediate response was to look into the patients airway using a laryngoscope, from which I removed at least two small paper cups and one plastic bag. The patient did die. It was ruled suicide by suffocation, but that doesn't forgive the incompetence of the medical staff. A clear airway is the first thing to be checked in an unconscious patient. It is the "A" in the well known ABC'S of C.P.R. This is just one of many anecdotes that lingered in my mind when I considered, that' now, I would be subject to this level of medical treatment in State Prison. So considering my personal experience and the urging of my attorneys I choose the Federal system. And now I can attest from first hand knowledge, the B.O.P. medical staff and treatment, are in fact, no better. I do not know if my lawyers purposely mislead me, were misinformed or just blatantly lied, but this medical care is nothing like what I was sold on. Upon my arrival, at my current location, my medications were given to me to self administer as directed and all seemed well. My first visit with the doctor showed a slight increase in blood pressure (No surprise there, under the circumstances), but she wanted to adjust my medication and add another. I respect physicians and don't make a habit of questioning their competency, unless I have been shown reason to, so I took the newly prescribed medication as directed. One week later, My ankles were so swollen that I couldn't put socks on. I knew immediately that I was being over medicated and was retaining fluid, so I stopped taking the medications. After a few months and several visits we finally got everything straightened out. Unsurprisingly, I was back on the same medication and same dosage as I had been before. My current issue with the medical care is that I have sustained two major injuries and have little to no care or treatment for them. One might argue that I'm prone to injury, but this is not the case. I have never had a serious injury until recently. I believe it to be more likely because I am now nearly forty years old and more susceptible. Over two years ago, I sustained a knee injury during a basketball game. There was massive swelling, discoloration and grinding sounds similar to those a tires makes when driving on rocks. .And pain, more pain then I have ever experienced in my life. What was the treatment from medical for this injury? There was physical therapist who examined my knee. Which by then the swelling had subsided and the color returned to normal, because it had been months later when I was actually seen. He told me that he noted no instability in it and I would be called for an x-ray. My knee does in fact have instability, most notably when I walk. It's significant enough that if I am not careful about how I put my foot down I will lose balance, because, not only is there unnatural lateral movement, but my knee now bends too far in the opposite 3, direction then what it was designed. Eventually, I was called down for an x-ray, which was preformed and that was the last I heard about it for months. I wrote two requests over a period of three months to get the results. No response was ever given. Months later, during a regular chronic care check up for my hypertension, I asked the P.A. about my results. He told me my knee x-ray was negative but didn't elaborate. Negative for what? I wondered. My knee wobbles around loose, makes noise and hurts all the time. I have since put in at least five more written requests and still have had no response or what I would see as the next step in treatment of an obvious soft tissue injury, an M.R.I. Last year, unable to run anymore because of my knee, my focus for exercise has been upper body only. This focus, in part, lead me to a shoulder injury. More in the scapula area. My left shoulder droops about two inches lower then my right does now. I have apparently torn some ligaments and or tendons. An obvious injury for which I thought medical staff would appropriately respond and have repaired. This is not the case. I have had an x-ray preformed on two separate occasions. A few weeks after the first x-ray, I was called in for a routine chronic care check up and while there I asked the P.A. about the x-ray results. He stated that they were negative. Again, like my knee, negative for what? A break? Ok. But that does not address the obvious soft tissue damage. During his physical exam of my shoulder he stated that he did not see any asymmetry. I didn't want to question his competency because, M quite frankly, he has the monopoly on my health care. So as a compromise I asked if we could do another x-ray, but with the intention of a comparative to show the difference in position of each shoulder. He scheduled me and I have had the x-ray and again have been given no results. It now has been several months since my last x-ray. I have put in two more written requests for a consultation to discuss the x-ray and further treatment. I have had no response. It seems in this particular medical system, that ignoring the patients is a regular practice. I will continue to put in requests and go to the open medical call in the a.m. hours in hopes to have some definitive care for my injuries. Between my knee injury two years agq and my more recent injury to my shoulder, I am, for a lack of a better term handicapped and unable to protect myself, in a system rife with physical altercations. I live with constant sharp shooting pain in my knee that has recently become worse as well as spreading to other parts of my knee and a burning sensation between my spine and scapula. My mobility and ability to exercise has been greatly reduced. Which really concerns me because of my hypertension and the fact that I have gained twenty pounds since my shoulder injury, even though my diet has remained the same. What is the solution? I honestly don't know. When medical staff can just ignore a patients verbal and written requests, what else is there. A law suit? Perhaps, but should I have to file a suit every time I need medical care. And how many years of pain and unnecessary suffering will that take?

Author: Arthur, Steven

Author Location: Arizona

Date: October 20, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 5 pages

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