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General Health Care Prison Health Care.. Medical, medications and all that go with it related to health care in the prison system...

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  #1  
Old 08-23-2020, 01:38 PM
SisterLoyale SisterLoyale is offline
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Default Retaliation for Filing Medical Grievances

My brother is currently incarcerated in a state prison. He has 2 years to go on a 7 year sentence. He has a number of health issues and up till recently, he had been getting enough medical care to get by.

However, he has had ongoing knee issues, which have gotten much worse over the past year. He believes he should have a total knee replacement. My brother knows the system well and documents everything with kytes on a regular basis.

He finally got an MRI recently and of course, they continued to recommend Ibuprofen, rest, ice, etc. He was really upset about this and has been giving them some push-back, which has, of course, backfired on him.

He has been on the same medication for several years to lower his cholesterol, and it also helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. One day, he just suddenly stopped getting this medication, which is a huge risk, in and of itself with this particular medication. This totally freaked him out, and he ended up filing a grievance.

Within a few days of him doing so, he began to receive a different med for the same issue, but this one has given him many dangerous side effects in the past, which were known and documented issues.

My brother feels this is part of their way of sending him a message to back off. I'm also fairly certain they intercepted my last two letters to him, one of which included his original copy of the MRI and information I had gotten from various medical personnel about their opinion on his knee.

Obviously, I am very concerned about his welfare. He has mentioned wanting to take this up the chain, but with all his health issues, I'm afraid things may become even worse for him. From some of the things I have read here related to medical grievances, my instincts are probably correct.

I guess what I need to know is, is it even possible to fight the system under circumstances such as these? What would be the best course of action? Should I advise him to lay low and not make any waves? Or should he pursue action and possibly risk his life and who knows what risk to me and my family? Am I being overly dramatic about this? To what extent will the prison system go to sweep this under the rug?

Any information or insight anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-23-2020, 04:47 PM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is online now
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Welcome to Prison Talk. I'm sorry for what your brother is having to deal with, and there is no easy answer of how to react. Many prison staff members (too many in my opinion) retaliate against "complainers", and do so even more frequently when the complaints originate with family members. Even so, if the issue is serious enough to require intervention, then the alternative to saying nothing can be more dangerous than angering a few bureaucrats.

Since his health is at risk from the prison's medical staff, and you decide it is too dangerous to ignore, then complain with additional support; a lawyer, the ACLU, your legislators, etc. It will be similar to hitting a wasps nest with a stick, but the involvement of outsiders, especially those who control the prison's money, won't be so easy to ignore.

Even so, the prison makes the rules, and enforces them any way they want, so they have countless ways to make your brother's life even more miserable than it already is. Because of that reality, make sure that your brother agrees with any involvement before you initiate it.

Two possibilities are to involve the CDCR Ombudsman's office
https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/ombuds/

or the California State Office of the Inspector General..
https://www.oig.ca.gov/
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:53 AM
SisterLoyale SisterLoyale is offline
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Thank you so much for the welcome and your reply. While it is scary to even think about pursuing this matter, I agree that ignoring it could result in much a worse outcome than stirring up that wasps nest. I will definitely discuss this with my brother and let him know I am willing to fight for him, if that's what he wants me to do.

I appreciate your insight and the resources you have shared to get the ball rolling, if that's what he decides he wants to do.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:27 PM
GaReform GaReform is offline
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I know in GA the prisons have a Warden for Care & Treatment at each facility. That is the person responsible for medical issues & related matters. Not sure if CA has something similar but you might check. Also, I found this info that might help you understand what they are obligated to do. Scroll down to pg 185 to read about medical care. https://www.law.umich.edu/special/po...0of%20Regs.pdf
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:06 PM
SisterLoyale SisterLoyale is offline
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Thank you so much for this information. It helps to know there are resources out there that may be able to help. I'll discuss this with my brother and see what he wants to do. I really appreciate your reply.
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Old 08-26-2020, 08:54 PM
RaeLR RaeLR is offline
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I fought this fight for an inmate and he ended up winning a lawsuit for medical neglect. The key is that he has to make you his point of contact so you have some authority. Then, you start at the prison level and gradually work your way up the food chain. If you get to the warden and nothing happens, go to the governor's office and file a complaint against DOC. You need to have documentation of what is going on in a simple and easy to read summary to start with. Once the prison system knows that someone on the outside is looking in, you would be surprised how quickly things get done! If there is any thought that you might file a lawsuit, he has to show that he tried everything first to remedy the issue. So make sure there are copies of all his grievances and that he has a decision on all of them. Good luck! And, by the way, you being an advocate are his protection. Once you draw outside attention, they will be intimidated from retaliation because that might get reported too. Evil thrives in the shadows...

Last edited by RaeLR; 08-26-2020 at 08:56 PM.. Reason: Adding sentence
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Old 08-28-2020, 08:34 AM
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What do you mean point of contact has more power? Can you elaborate a bit? My man is filling grievances now and I'm scared of retaliation.
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Old 08-28-2020, 01:01 PM
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Unless you are listed on the prison's HIPAA paperwork, signed and submitted by your brother, as being authorized to receive his medical information (and often even when you are) the prison will deny your requests for any medical information. If the form has been filed with prison medical, they will at least have one less excuse to ignore your requests.
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Old 09-04-2020, 05:26 PM
SisterLoyale SisterLoyale is offline
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Thank you RaeLR and Fbopnomore for your advice. Just wanted to give you an update regarding my brother's situation. He gave me some names & numbers of administrators he wanted me to call with specific details. I was really surprised to get a call back within a few hours today and the person I spoke to seemed to be taking this very seriously. She gave me her official email and said to email her back if I don't hear something from someone by the middle of next week. In fact, she said she prefers emails because she likes to keep a paper trail on this kind of thing. She agreed that what is going on is not right. I am so relieved to know that this will not be taken lightly.

To Jacob's Girl, I think what they are saying is find someone who is in charge of looking into these things, such as an Ombudsman or DOC administrators for the state your loved one is incarcerated in and start that paper trail. There may be some retaliatory behavior on the part of the prison staff, but like everyone on this thread said, once they know someone on the outside is willing to step in and advocate for an inmate, they should straighten up and start doing the right thing. Also, I believe the point of contact means that you are listed as the person they must inform regarding official information related to your loved one.

BTW: I will look into getting that HIPAA form signed, if at all possible.

Thanks again! I'll be sure to update this thread when I have some news. I definitely appreciate all your support.

Last edited by SisterLoyale; 09-04-2020 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 09-04-2020, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SisterLoyale View Post
Thank you RaeLR and Fbopnomore for your advice. Just wanted to give you an update regarding my brother's situation. He gave me some names & numbers of administrators he wanted me to call with specific details. I was really surprised to get a call back within a few hours today and the person I spoke to seemed to be taking this very seriously. She gave me her official email and said to email her back if I don't hear something from someone by the middle of next week. In fact, she said she prefers emails because she likes to keep a paper trail on this kind of thing. She agreed that what is going on is not right. I am so relieved to know that this will not be taken lightly.

To Jacob's Girl, I think what they are saying is find someone who is in charge of looking into these things, such as an Ombudsman or DOC administrators for the state your loved one is incarcerated in and start that paper trail. There may be some retaliatory behavior on the part of the prison staff, but like everyone on this thread said, once they know someone on the outside is willing to step in and advocate for an inmate, they should straighten up and start doing the right thing. Also, I believe the point of contact means that you are listed as the person they must inform regarding official information related to your loved one.

BTW: I will look into getting that HIPAA form signed, if at all possible.

Thanks again! I'll be sure to update this thread when I have some news. I definitely appreciate all your support.
This is great news. So good for him to have a persistent advocate! They all need that because too many suffer. It sounds like you have a good person who will work with you. And I agree that a paper trail is important in case you need to keep going higher. Good luck and please keep us informed
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