by Sharon Rondeau

Graphic credit: Wikipedia

(Mar. 27, 2017) — On Monday The Post & Email learned that a Tennessee prison inmate who had reported the discontinuation approximately a month ago of prescription Prilosec, used to treat acid reflux disease, is once again receiving it.

We had first reported the sudden withdrawal of his medications after he informed us of it on March 2.

Grenda Harmer is housed at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC), a facility which has been fraught with problems since its opening in January 2016.

According to a lawsuit filed by number of diabetic inmates at the same prison, they have not been receiving the medications prescribed for them to control the condition, which can cause the patient to lapse into a coma if his blood sugar becomes elevated above a certain point.

In regard to acid reflux disease, also known as “GERD,” Health.com quoted Dr. Anish Sheth, MD, then-assistant professor of digestive diseases at Yale School of Medicine as warning that “If you have acid exposure in the esophagus for even as little as a few weeks, you can develop inflammation of the (esophageal) lining” which can “be very uncomfortable, even painful, and can leave the esophagus vulnerable to even more harmful erosion or scarring.”

Dr. Sheth has since left Yale to practice at the University Medical Center of Princeton in New Jersey.

The explanation Harmer had received from TTCC medical staff for the cessation of his Prilosec was that it was “no longer on the formulary” and that he could purchase it himself from the commissary.

Tums were also part of his medical regimen and discontinued at the same time as the Prilosec.

In a letter received on March 6, Harmer reported that he had filed an emergency grievance over the denial of the medications about which he said TTCC staff were “going slow.”

On March 16, The Post & Email contacted Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) Communications Director Neysa Taylor about Harmer’s situation to ask, “Why can’t this inmate receive the medication which was prescribed for him by a physician?”

We received no response.

The same day, we contacted the spokesman for Correct Care Solutions, the private contractor which provides medical care to the facility.  Our email reads:

Good morning, an inmate from the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, TN has been corresponding with me for several months and reported approximately five weeks ago that his physician-prescribed Prilosec was mysteriously discontinued.

Several letters have arrived since then, and one received today describes severe burning in his throat coupled with chest pain because he is without his medication.

He has previously enclosed documentation showing that he filed an emergency grievance and has attempted to address the matter with a Sue Smith, a nurse apparently assigned to the prison by your company.

Mr. Harmer is not the only inmate who has reported failing to receive prescription medications at the facility. I literally have scores of letters from inmates prescribed blood pressure medication, heart medication, and many other potentially life-saving medicines which they say they receive irregularly or at times, not at all.  Many of those letters have been published.

I have already queried Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Communications Director Neysa Taylor and sent her a copy of the inmate’s letter.  Previous experience, however, is that I will not receive a response.

I have published the inmate’s letter in an article here:

as well as a previous article about this particular problem:
I would appreciate your looking into this matter and providing me with a response.

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
PO Box 113
Canterbury, CT 06331-0113

As with our email to Taylor, we attached Harmer’s March 10 letter but received no response.

The inmate’s latest letter reads, in part:

On page 2 of the letter, Harmer wrote, “…I got my Prilosec back on the 17th and I’ll be getting my Tums back on the 25th.”

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