Citing ‘Failure’ In Prison Medical Care, Logan, Lawmakers Call For Inquiry

March 15, 2018

Citing Eight Inmate Deaths, ‘Failure’ In Prison Medical Care, Lawmakers Call For Inquiry 

Hartford Courant

Citing a crisis in medical care behind prison walls, legislative leaders on Wednesday called for an inquiry, and renewed a request for a report on 25 botched medical cases, including eight inmate deaths, that the Department of Correction has refused to release.

State Sen. Len Fasano of North Haven, the Republican president pro tem, said at a news briefing that someone at the DOC “needs to have the guts to look us in the eye” and say whether “that report will ever see the light of day.”

He stepped aside and allowed Carrie World, the mother of a state inmate whose lymphoma went undiagnosed for three years despite bloody rashes covering his body, to describe the “20 times” she demanded information about her son’s lack of medical care. The family is now pressing a medical-malfeasance lawsuit, one of a growing number of cases alleging substandard care.

The widow of a former longtime state employee, World said her son, Wayne World, was brought up to face the consequences of his actions.

He’s been in prison since 2006 on a manslaughter conviction, “but he has been given a second sentence that could cost him his life.”

The Courant reported in June that the prison agency, citing attorney-client privilege, had refused the newspaper’s request for the publicly funded report, completed by a consultant who is a doctor and a lawyer. The agency also declined a request for the report by the state’s auditors, who had criticized the relationship between UConn Heath, which provided the medical care, and the DOC, which paid the bill of more than $100 million a year for the no-bid contract. The auditors said the arrangement lacked quality controls and oversight.

Last month, the state ended its agreement with UConn Health and moved the administration of medical care inside the DOC — but Fasano, who was also denied the consultant’s report, said questions are beginning to multiply about apparent lapses in care.

Fasano, Sen. Heather Somers, a Republican of Groton, and Sen. George Logan, a Republican of Ansonia, called for a public hearing during this shortened legislative session on the operation of medical care inside prisons and an explanation of why it is going wrong.

Fasano said the attorney-client protection is a sound legal principle, but that it was possible it should be waived in this case. Attorney General George Jepsen’s office has said it commissioned the consultant’s report to help the Department of Correction defend against lawsuits in some or all of the 25 medical cases.

Somers, who with Logan is a co-chair of the public health committee, likened what she said she is learning about “systemic failures” in prison health care to the patient abuse scandal at the Whiting Forensic Division. Ten workers were charged with cruelty and the state is facing federal and state lawsuits.

Somers said the prison care contract had been “blindly awarded” to UConn Heath year after year, essentially as a subsidy, and that certain situations, such as an inmate going without medication for five months, were intolerable.

She said in some instances, “this would be considered torturous neglect.”

And Logan, noting the auditors’ findings about a lack of quality control said, “As a result, taxpayers are subsidizing UConn, which has failed to provide an acceptable standard of care.”

The lawmakers said a date has not been set for the public hearing.

These inmates have no choice” but to rely on prison medical care, Fasano said, “and that heightens the state’s responsibility. How can the legislature fix the problem if it doesn’t know what it is? That’s our responsibility and we can’t delegate it to anyone else.”,amp.html