Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home1/wdupray/public_html/pennacrimlaw.com/wp-content/themes/freshnews_new/functions/admin-hooks.php on line 160

Medical Care in Prisons

February 29, 2012

2. Law, 7. Post-Trial

People can get as cranky as they please over the cost of housing prison inmates, but it doesn’t change the fact that inmates need proper medical care – physical, mental, and dental.  Pennsylvania prisons have outsourced care to Prison Health Services, apparently a division of Corizon Health (run out of Tennessee).

Providing adequate care falls under the 8th Amendment’s Cruel & Unusual Clause, and the standard for proving inappropriate care is high – “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.”  Further stated, the prison official must know of and disregard an excessive risk of harm to the prisoner.  That’s not easy to prove.

I have a client with Crohn’s Disease.  How to manage it?  A healthy diet and reduce your stress.  Best of luck with that in prison.  I also have a cousin with it, and he’s almost bought the farm several times.

My inmate client relates that his pain is intense and mostly untreated.  That concerns me.  We’re in the fact gathering mode at present, so have yet to learn his meds, length of illness, and other details.

What’s a serious medical need?

(1) whether a reasonable doctor or patient would perceive the medical need in question as important and worthy of comment or treatment;

(2) whether the medical condition significantly affects daily activities; and

(3) the existence of chronic and substantial pain.

There’s that pain issue.

I have no interest in bringing a suit against the prison without proper basis.  I’ve already relayed to my client that the issue is what can be proved, not what can be alleged.  I was very direct in telling him not to embellish his symptoms.  So we’ll see what comes back.

It seems that PHS relies quite heavily on Physician’s Assistants.  Some prison sites claim that PAs are doing medical procedures beyond their licensing.  I’ve taken note of that, but need to understand it more.

Here’s a good baseline article to understand the issues.  Lots of case cites.  Here’s Brock v Wright which seems instructive.

Now onto fact gathering …

Share, print, or save this post ...
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Print
  • PDF

About Clyde

Clyde is the lead attorney in the firm. Licensed to practice in 1993, he's also taught Constitutional and Criminal Law for several years at a private university, primarily at the Master's level.

View all posts by Clyde

Comments are closed.