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REPORTS: SLEEPING ON FLOOR, DIABETIC FOOT ULCER, POOR HYGIENE
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 8, 2012) — Visitors to see Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III at the Monroe County jail over the last two weeks have reported that Fitzpatrick has a diabetic ulcer on his heel and rarely gets to shower. The risk of skin infection for diabetics necessitates scrupulous hygiene and can lead to amputation if the wound does not heal properly. Elevated blood sugar levels present in diabetes cause skin wounds to heal much more slowly than in patients without the disease.
The NYU Langone Medical Center reports that “Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU’s) are highly prevalent and the primary source of hospitalizations and amputations in persons with diabetes.” Ulcers are a result of decreased blood flow to the area and loss of sensation. The medical team at the center recommends that diabetics “wash…feet daily” and “The moment a person with diabetes suffers a break in the skin of the foot, they are at serious risk of amputation due to their bodies [sic] weakened ability to fight infection. Of the more than 20 million people in the US with diabetes, as many as 25% will develop a foot ulcer in their lifetime. Of these, 14-24% will end in amputation.”
Complications of diabetes can lead to sepsis, a severe bacterial infection of the blood.
When we asked one visitor if he believed the ulcer was improving over time, he responded, “I have to trust the nurses. They inspect the ulcer and change the bandage daily. Not sure about impeccable hygiene, however, when you have human excrement on the floor you are sleeping on.”
Another observation reads:
The Commander spends most of his time in Cell #9 which is normally reserved for unruly inmates. The only connection this cell has with the outside world is when rain water blows through the wall and wets the floor. There is no sense of day or night or changing seasons. Walt is alone in this cell for long periods which results in mental confusion and disorientation. This is defined in Amendment VIII in the Constitution as cruel and unusual punishment and as such has not been allowed since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.
Walt’s adult onset (type 2) diabetes was in remission when he was first incarcerated in 2010. It returned at the end of his previous incarceration in 2011 and has now progressed to ulcers on his extremities. Type 2 diabetes, in its early stages, is controlled by diet and exercise. Type 2 diabetes in a susceptible individual is precipitated by inappropriate diet and no exercise. The diet for diabetics is low glycemic; the food in the Monroe County jail is high glycemic. He is not allowed to exercise and staggers from muscle wasting. Walt will surely lose his foot and worse if he is not allowed to exercise and does not receive a proper diet and medical care to control his diabetes.
The Commander is a political prisoner, in fact. He has no recourse from his condition. He is in pseudo solitary confinement without access to a telephone or any means to prepare himself for future defense in court. His treatment is unconscionable and unlawful in the 21st century.
To the best of our knowledge, Fitzpatrick has had the foot ulcer for at least several weeks since his rearrest on December 7, 2011. Recently he has gone two weeks without a shower following a 24-day period in which he reportedly was not allowed to shower until the jail nurses intervened. We are told that Fitzpatrick is sleeping in the “day room,” which has no bathroom or running water.
A concerned caller was told that Fitzpatrick is having his blood sugar checked twice daily by the nurses as well as receiving medication for his condition.
In November 2010, Fitzpatrick had described the day room as having raw sewage leaking onto the floor from a faulty pipe. Other inmates have reported substandard conditions at the jail including lack of medical care, overcrowding, rat infestation in the kitchen, and toilets which can be flushed only by guards from the outside. An inspector confirmed to The Post & Email in October 2011 that he had cited “overcrowding” as an issue the previous June but recertified the facility. One visitor described the jail conditions as “horrific.”
According to the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, local grand juries are responsible for inquiring into the conditions of the county jail.
Readers of The Post & Email have sent him cards, letters, and prayers for his well-being and safety.
The Post & Email is in possession of numerous letters written by a Tennessee state penitentiary inmate to Walter Fitzpatrick. The first page of a letter dated December 8, 2011, the day after Fitzpatrick was rearrested and his home raided, reads:
Fitzpatrick was rearrested on December 7 following his release from the Monroe County jail on December 3, 2011 for an alleged “mistake” on the part of a public official which miscalculated the time Fitzpatrick should have spent in jail following his arrest on September 23. He was also charged with “destruction and/or tampering with government papers.” On December 16, 2011, The Post & Email contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department to inquire if there was a video-recording of the alleged crime. On December 19, Detective Conway Mason returned our call and stated that there was a video, but that it had not yet been sent to the prosecutor’s office. He told us that he expected that “everything would be sent over by the end of the week.”
On the morning of December 7, Fitzpatrick had attended the selection of the two Monroe County grand juries for 2012, and following his reincarceration, stated in a letter dated December 14 that the jurors were “hand-picked” by Judge Amy Reedy.
The Post & Email has been made aware of someone who is considering challenging Reedy when she faces re-election in 2013.
Fitzpatrick had been arrested on October 27, 2010 after a physical confrontation with four Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies acting on an unsigned warrant which claimed that he had failed to appear at a court hearing on October 22, 2010. His initial arrest on April 1, 2010 arose from a citizen’s arrest which he attempted to carry out against the presumptive grand jury foreman, who had been acting in that capacity for at least 27 years. Fitzpatrick later discovered through an open records request that the acting foreman had never been officially appointed or sworn in.
Prior to attempting the citizen’s arrest, Fitzpatrick had notified the TBI, FBI, local police department, sheriff’s department, and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee about the grand jury foreman’s length of service in apparent violation of state law, but no one took any action.
In October 2000, WorldNetDaily had reported that “A senior FBI official said public corruption in Tennessee was ‘too extensive’ to successfully prosecute.” Fitzpatrick was told by several Knoxville, TN FBI agents, “You better get used to it, because that’s just the way things are.”
Fitzpatrick has likened the former grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway, to Barack Hussein Obama, stating that both had “no papers.” While the Monroe County court clerk admitted that she could produce no documentation on Pettway, including identification, Obama’s identity and eligibility for office have also been questioned by many researchers. Challenges to his placement on various state ballots have and are being filed, and claims of election fraud, social security fraud, a foreign birth, forgery and running for office under a false identity have been made against him.
Those wishing to inquire as to Fitzpatrick’s well-being can call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department at 423-442-3911. A hearing on the new charge is scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. in Madisonville.
Update, January 9, 2012, 12:14 a.m. ET: A citizen who sent Fitzpatrick $25 which supposedly went into his commissary account at the jail has just reported that Fitzpatrick was able to use the money to buy a set of earplugs, after which “he had his best night’s sleep” since his reincarceration on December 7, 2011. Prior to this time, the citizen had not been able to positively verify that Fitzpatrick had received the money.
Update, January 9, 4:24 p.m. ET: A reader of The Post & Email reported the following:
I spoke with Jimmy Matlock‘s office earlier today. A woman named Phyllis took my call and was courteous and I told her to read your most current article and to search your database for all the related articles regarding Walt and Monroe County and the corruption going on in TN. She told me Mr. Matlock will not be in the office until next Monday, but would pass this information along. I also heard from Nathan Buttrey, last week at least a voice mail returning my call. I was able to speak with him about Walt and expressly told him this is happening under Gov. Haslam’s watch. I also told Nathan if he was in the position that Walt was in I would be doing the same thing. He said emphatically “I know you would.” His tone came across in a thankful way to that. I implored him to read your most recent post, contact you and/or your staff to bring to account this unlawful criminal behavior. I also called down to the jail. I called last week. I spoke with Lt. Woods this time. I asked him about Walt and if he received any of the mail I sent him. He checked and said he knew Walt received a letter from me on the 7th. What happened to my stamps I sent to Walt is anybody’s guess.
(Links added by The Post & Email)
On January 6, the same citizen had reported the following:
I got the care package I sent Walt returned to me in the mail. Unfortunately, they didn’t even give him my letter. I sent it back in a separate envelope. The letter with the stamps he will not get either. I called down there last week to check on Walt. I talked to a Sgt Filly (I beleive she said spelled like the horse). Anyway, Walt can only receive letters (obviously he didn’t get the one enclosed in the package). She told me she didn’t know what happened to the stamps that I sent, either they would be sent back or kept for Walt when he is released. She told me we could get a money order and he could cash it or use it at the commissary. I asked how Walt was, and she told me he was good. Well, how can you be good when you’re in jail, UNLAWFULLY at that! I am going to ask some friends from church if they would like to put in a little money towards a money order with me and send it to Walt.