“THEY DON’T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 24, 2018) — TDOC inmate Robert Z. Whipple, #399615, reported in a letter received on Tuesday that an associate warden at his facility has finally approved him to receive prescribed diabetic shoes with the caveat that he pay for them out of his own funds.
The letter, dated January 13, 2018, states, in part, “I was told by the Fiscal Director here, Archie Doby, that I can order the shoes I need right away (at my own expense), that it had been approved by Associate Warden Shannon Green.”
Whipple is housed at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex (BCCX) and has been attempting to have his prescription filled for several months while experiencing severe pain in his feet from diagnosed diabetic neuropathy. He has explained that the standard work boots issued by the prison do not accommodate his medical condition or his need for extra-wide width shoes.
Having filed four lawsuits against the TDOC on various matters, Whipple offered TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker and the prison medical provider, Centurion, the “opportunity to avoid costly litigation” over his non-receipt of the shoes in a letter dated December 23, 2017.
Two of the four lawsuits have since been dismissed.
In a letter dated November 22, 2017, Whipple stated, “I am being denied prescribed ‘diabetic shoes’ by the state’s medical provider, not because they aren’t medically necessary, but because they don’t want to spend the money.” The letter was accompanied by a grievance with the same date in which Whipple wrote, “This grievance does not dispute a medical diagnosis, but instead asks for the prescribed treatment.”
In the “Requested Solution” area of the grievance form, Whipple responded with, “Follow Dr. Belknap’s order for shoes or allow my family to place another order for shoes.”