"She Was Eating a Pastry at the Time" - Conditions in the Prison Hospital at Carswell
Stories seeping out of the prison hospital located at the Carswell Air Force base in Texas give an idea of the conditions facing sick Drug War (and other) prisoners in the federal system. FMC Carswell is where a federal woman prisoner is sent if a medical condition gets out of hand. The ten sample accounts which follow were received from Carswell prisoners since May this year. They are recorded verbatim. Viewers may put their own spin on these accounts, depending on whether you think prisoners tell the truth.
Stribling (?first name) - a 40 year old black
woman quadraplegic. While she was being lifted out of bed on to her
mobile bed-wheel chair, they dropped her and broke her femur. Even
tho' it gave her pain they didn't want to set the bone, said she'd
never use the leg again anyway. Now it causes constant pain and irritation,
inflammation, etc. She also has an ongoing urinary tract infection
because of negligence to the whole catheter-cleanliness situation.
Pat Methias - She was the untreated brain tumor I told you about, left untreated until she was paralyzed on one side and was in and out of her mind, having fits and coma. She was sent home to die on a "compassionate release." That was under the old warden Bogan.
Jessica Cruz - Was sent from California with
a broken ankle. She was in a temporary cast for transportation. The
cast wasn't removed for maybe 1½ months. When it was finally
taken off she had rejected some sort of metal washers used to stabilize
the ankle in a halo. They ended up putting a steel bar in her fibula
from her knee to ankle with a bar across the ankle and screws in the
top. The so-called rehab people started her exercises before they
were supposed to, apparently her paperwork got mixed up with a Jessica
Ruize who had had a knee replaced. They stopped the walking and put
her in a wheel chair when they discovered the screw up. When they
took out the ankle bolt and stitched up the holes she was again put
into rehab too soon and the wound opened to the bone. Dr. Hernandez
came to examine the bad spot. She was eating a pastry at the time,
didn't even wash her hands or put gloves on before sticking her pinky
into the open hole in Jessie's leg. Then she went back to eating her
pastry w/o washing her hands.
Margaret Jones - She could be around 70, or maybe younger on account of her use of methamphetamines. Margaret had done all her time and could have been released except there was nowhere to place her because there are no wheelchair halfway houses in central California, or so we were told. So she is still locked up in this superior medical center and develops diarrhea. She has this for weeks, she's going down steady. Finally the medical staff admit they've got a problem, and send her to an outside hospital. Next I hear she is in deep coma and on respirator. Several months later we heard she had come to. This news comes from the chaplain's office. The chaplain is very pro-inmate - well, not quite, treats the CO's like they aren't quite human. About a month later she was back but not quite all there. She is still not playing with a full deck.
Judy Budreux - She's a diabetic, developed an infection in her remaining kidney and died when they took her outside for an examination. Real sad - she was almost finished her time, was almost home, then gone. This took everyone by surprise. Crazy stuff!
Ann Jenkins - She was a friend of mine's cell mate until her unexpected death. My friend was arrested and put in solitary for investigation of suspected wrongful death. She said it scared the hell out of her, seeing how much they can twist the facts to suit their purpose. It was fishy. Ann had won a lawsuit against Carswell after she lost some toes to bone infection. The bone infection resulted from being forced to work in shoes that did not fit. They made her wear ill-fitted shoes until the blisters on her feel wore down to the bone and the bone rotted and they cut two or three toes off. The lawsuit she won was 5 million. Ann was to be released 2 weeks before her death. The federal government has ways of discouraging people from suing them for cruel and unusual punishment.
Brenda Woodruff - Brenda was in county jail for
contempt of court. The time to be served was, I think, 17 months.
Then she would be offered the same deal to testify against her son
or do 17 months more. All this was before her Fed time was to start
for conspiracy to sell LSD. I think the sentence coming down is 17
years, or it may be 14, I am not sure.
Anyway, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the
county jail in Sturgis, Montana. They shipped her to Carswell a day
or two before she was to have surgery in Sturgis. After she arrived
here at FMC Carswell, she got no medical treatment for months, many
months. Then she got a full hysterectomy. After the surgery there
was no follow-up to see if all the cancer was removed.
Over a year later it was discovered that she still had
cancer. A CAT scan showed the stuff had invaded her pelvis. Where
the treatment is at now I do not know.
Brenda teaches the basics to mentally challenged inmates.
Barbara King - Barbara has an aneurysm on one
of the carotid arteries. They put her on an experimental blood pressure
medicine but will not do surgery. She is 52 or 53 and has 9 more years
to go. She knows she will not make it out of here unless she gets
worked on. Barb is trying to get transferred to a Fed camp in Kentucky
close to where she is from. Then if she starts to go downhill the
surgeons in the closest hospital already know her condition and have
the records from a previous heart operation. That is the best bet
Since she teaches math, there is a chance she will get her requested move. Math teachers are rare where she comes from.
Charla Motley - Almost died or actually did die after what was supposed to be a low risk C section. But she is a Republican and feels OK about the mess she is in. Good job of brain washing. She gave the feds "full cooperation" in court and got 3 years for possession of 10 pounds of crack cocaine.
Nancy Lopez - Had thyroid cancer when she got here. Nothing was done for her as far as anyone knows. They moved her to San Antonio or El Paso to face some State War on Drugs stuff. We don't know what if anything was done for her after that.
American Medical Association: Anyone out there interested in taking a look behind prison walls?