Is The DOC Liable for Prisoner Misdiagnosis?
The Department of Corrections (DOC) becomes responsible for providing healthcare as soon as they incarcerate a prisoner. Sadly, it is extremely common for this responsibility to be ignored, and this has led to several cases of death and suffering among prisoners at all levels. A recent case involving a death row prisoner showcases how inferior the health care actually is in U.S. prisons. Inmate Robert Murray had his tonsils removed by a surgeon who discovered that Murray had cancer, but nothing was done about this serious medical issue for seven months. Although some people might believe that a death row inmate should not receive medical attention for a situation like this, it is cruel to deny someone access to health care simply because of their prisoner status.
What is the DOC’s Responsibility for Misdiagnosed Issues?
One of the issues that delayed Murray from receiving proper treatment was a misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, any doctor can make this mistake. However, the DOC needs to be held accountable for providing consistent health care. After all, when someone has cancer, there are typically several verifiable symptoms. In other words, if the first diagnosis does not seem to fit the medical problem at hand, the DOC should make a second opinion available to the prisoner in a timely manner.
The issue of inmates receiving improper medical care has become so common that a class-action lawsuit has been filed against the DOC. If the members of this lawsuit are able to prove their case, it could have a huge impact on the way the DOC views healthcare. It is important to note that the U.S. prison system has become more than just a way to punish people for breaking the law. Instead, it is also a major moneymaker, and there have been several complaints at different levels about the way the entire system operates. Therefore, it makes sense that the DOC might purposefully provide inmates with inferior medical attention because this can reduce their annual expenses.
In addition to the current class-action lawsuit, there is also a case pending that alleges that Wexford Health Services, Inc. refused to treat a patient who went into convulsions. Sadly, that inmate died as a result of this issue. According to the lawsuit, the Arizona DOC uses Wexford Health Services to provide prisoner healthcare. If employees from Wexford Health Services truly did do nothing to help the convulsing prisoner, it is important for them to face legal consequences, and the DOC should also strongly consider switching to a more reputable healthcare provider.
How can I Join a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been denied access to healthcare while incarcerated, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney. You can reduce your personal expenses and improve your odds of winning by joining any applicable class-action lawsuits. In order to do this, it is a good idea to research any cases that are currently being compiled in your area. Additionally, you can contact the ACLU chapter that represents your local area.
Although it might seem difficult to fight the DOC, it is important to remember that everyone deserves access to healthcare. After all, if these inmates were not in prison, they would have the opportunity to secure their own insurance or visit the hospital during an emergency. Therefore, the DOC needs to step up and ensure that everyone receives the necessary medical treatment, regardless of their crime or sentence.