Inmate Calls Out TDOC for “Medical Malpractice”


by Sharon Rondeau

Photo credit: kirov1976 at Shutterstock, licensed

(Oct. 10, 2018) — An inmate at one of Tennessee’s ten state-run prisons wrote in a letter received Tuesday that his diabetes and diabetic neuropathy have been under-treated with the purpose of saving the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) money.

The inmate wrote that when he arrived in prison 13 years ago, he “was in pretty good health with the exception of hypertension. In 2010 I was diagnosed as having Type Two diabetes. I was prescribed Metformin and was then put on insulin. I struggled and eventually was lucky enough to stop insulin but remain on Metformin for the diabetes after a few years.”

Three years later, the inmate reported, he began “having a lot of pain in my feet and legs. After a lot of sick calls and begging for help I was seen by a specialist who diagnosed me as having diabetic neuropathy,” nerve pain and damage brought on in many cases by high blood sugar levels.

He said he was given Gabapentin to ease the pain but that in February, Centurion, the state’s contracted prison medical provider, started removing medications from inmates in order to save money. He detailed that the Metformin, the generic for Glucophage, was reduced from 2,000 milligrams a day to a 1,000 milligrams a day without his knowledge or consent.

In July, the inmate said, the Gabapentin was also reduced from 1,600 mg daily to 900 mg “knowing that I am in constant pain from nerve damage and with the knowledge that this condition has only worsened over time and continues to do so.”

He wrote that his glucose levels, as evidenced by a three-month blood test known as a “Hg (hemoglobin) A-1 C” are elevated, and as a result, Dr. Gann “promised to raise the diabetes meds back up to where they were but did not do so.”

According to the American Diabetes Assocation (ADA), diabetes can cause complications such as heart disease, foot infections, kidney disease, and visual impairment such as glaucoma.

The inmate falls under the category of “chronic care” since he has a permanent disease, he said, and should therefore receive a medical checkup quarterly. “I have witnessed several inmates try to get medical treatment but end up passing due to these people’s lack of caring,” he wrote of his jailers. “I did not have this desease or damage before being incarcerated and I don’t want to die in here just to save them money.” [sic]



4 Responses to "Inmate Calls Out TDOC for “Medical Malpractice”"

  1. Joyce Parris   Friday, October 12, 2018 at 2:14 AM

    For one thing, hes doing his time for what he was charged for. Hes human not an animal. He deserves medical treatment just the same as you. You are the moron. You are exactly like the people thats letting inmates suffer just because they’re locked up. It doesn’t matter how long hes been locked up. That has no point in the matter whatsoever. You are bias and what’s wrong with this society. FYI….he hasn’t been locked up for 16 years. This is about inmates dying at the hands of the medical staff. So you can take your opinions that has nothing to do with what this post is about and go find a page about starving children or homeless animals and pick on them. Leave your heartless, arrogant comments elsewhere.

  2. Rob Whipple   Friday, October 12, 2018 at 1:27 AM

    I would like to weigh in on this. The inmate in question is a friend of mine that I met while incarcerated (I know he wasn’t named in the article, but I told him he should share his story with the Post & Email, and know what he has been through). He is a good man, and regardless of what he may or may not have done, he is entitled to be treated with dignity and human decency. But regardless of what you think of him, this man, like most prisoners, will be released one day. Would it not better serve society for him to be able to work when he is released, so he would no longer be a burden to society? I worked with him through two different prison jobs, and can verify he is a hard worker!

    Here in the US, we incarcerate more than 2 million people; we represent about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but incarcerate around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners–what a barbaric nation we are! To lock up so many and then deny them basic human rights like adequate medical care is unconscionable.

    In a study by Sarah Shannon, a sociologist at the University of Georgia, and five colleagues. They estimate that the number of Americans either currently serving a sentence or carrying a felony conviction or prison time in their background quadrupled between 1980 and 2010 — from 5 million to nearly 20 million. Allowing for further sentencing since 2010, it would not be unreasonable to assume that 23 million Americans are thus marked.

    Looking beyond those convicted of felonies and incarcerated, a study by the Obama administration estimates that “70 million Americans — or roughly a third of the adult population — have some type of criminal record,” including “those with charges that were dismissed or did not result in conviction, as well as those who have completed their legal obligation to serve time in incarceration.”

    Given the reach of mass incarceration in the U.S., there is a better-than-even chance someone you love will be incarcerated in your lifetime. So if, say, your son became addicted to prescription pain pills and ended up buying them on the street and eventually resorted to theft to support his habit, would you love him any less? Wouldn’t you still want him to receive necessary medical care? It isn’t as if this man is asking for something extraordinary–just standard treatment for his conditions. It isn’t like he can just go see the doctor of his choice, he must rely on the state to provide this.

    Now in case you are wondering about me, I am a recovering addict that used to steal to support my habit. What I did was wrong, and being an addict doesn’t excuse it, it only provides context. I have served my time and was released on parole. I go to work. I pay taxes and bills. And most important, I’ve learned from my mistakes and been clean nearly 8 years, but to many people, I am still nothing but a drug-addicted thief. These people refuse to hire me or rent me an apartment, and that is their loss. I am living proof that there is life after prison and that addiction doesn’t have to control your destiny forever.

  3. Sharon Rondeau   Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 11:43 AM

    It is The Post & Email’s policy not to ask an inmate whether or not he (or she) committed a crime. Rather, our articles on inmates and prisons are intended to focus on the government’s pledge to provide adequate healthcare to each person it incarcerates and whether or not that pledge is kept. We additionally note that because of Tennessee’s corrupt grand jury system wherein the foreman is handpicked by the judge, there is no way to actually determine guilt or innocence. The “justice” system is tainted from its inception, resulting in tens of thousands of people throughout the state of Tennessee incarcerated without due process as outlined in the Tennessee Constitution, U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

  4. Rattlerjake   Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 11:20 AM

    Exactly what was this inmate incarcerated for? He’s been in prison for 16 years, so I’m guessing it wasn’t jaywalking or smoking a joint. Does it make a difference as to how he/she should be treated? Yes and No! If this moron was incarcerated for murder or rape or any other violent crime I have NO SYMPATHY — he should receive the absolute minimum of care. This is not about “love they neighbor” or “do unto others” or love your enemies”, this is about him not receiving the proper punishment for a violent crime – according to God’s law, not man’s stupidity! We have far too many of these violent offenders who should have been executed for their heinous crimes, instead of living off the tax payers.

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