Archive for the ‘Prisons’ Category

According to the wife of the inmate suffering from the hole in his buttocks, which according to his medical records contains MRSA, Staph and other bacteria, the wound has now burrowed to a depth of six-inches, and the opening is as big as a silver dollar.

The Department of Correction, she said, will not discuss health care options with her or her husband.

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The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) today released a Request For Proposals (RFP) soliciting vendors to provide healthcare services to the prison inmate population.

The new RFP will allow the option of multiple vendors, so potential vendors will be able to bid to provide a portion of services, such as mental health services, substance abuse services or prescription drugs, among others, as well as to bid on the entire contract.

Another change will be to allow the option for a “shared risk” model, with DOC agreeing to bear the risk of certain costs in certain categories.

“We expect this flexibility, and the increased competition it is expected to provide, will foster improved medical care and cost savings,” DOC Commissioner Carl Danberg said in a written statement. “The Department spent significant time exploring alternative solutions to the way we contract for medical services. We believe this alternative will allow for large and small service providers to bid on the areas that fall within their specialization.”

Shoddy medical care provided by the DOC’s current medical vendor, Correctional Medical Services, was  highlighted in a recent special by the Caesar Rodney Institute.

The RFP can be found here.

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An inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna has a four-inch hole in his buttocks, which is full of MRSA, staph and other bacteria.

The abscess is burrowing toward the 50-year-old inmate’s midline, according to medical documents obtained by the Caesar Rodney Institute.

He’s had the wound for more than six months, and now faces surgery to remove the dead tissue, and possible skin grafts. The ulcerous wound has formed a pus pocket, referred to as a “sinus tract” in his medical records, which is four inches long.

Five months ago, according to the records, medical staff were irrigating the wound with saline, and packing it with 10 to 12 inches of gauze.

Not only does the inmate constitute a serious health risk to other inmates, the guards too are at risk for contracting the highly-communicable MRSA, which is also known as flesh-eating bacteria. Their families too could be exposed to MRSA, as could anyone they contact.


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The Delaware Department of Correction killed Daniel Kern, according to the findings of an autopsy report obtained by the Caesar Rodney Institute.

Kern, 41, was serving a one-year sentence for his third drunk-driving conviction. He was being held at the Sussex Correctional Institution. He acquired pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be caused by alcoholism, other infections or gall stones.

Pancreatitis should have been easy to detect. A simple blood test would have revealed that Kern’s blood contained elevated levels of digestive enzymes, which are formed in the pancreas. However, Kern’s frequent complaints of abdominal pain and pleas for help went unheeded by the DOC and its medical vendor Correctional Medical Services.

The Caesar Rodney Institute, as part of its ongoing special report “Rogue Force,” reported what Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Adrienne Sekula-Perlman told Kern’s family after the post-mortem exam, that Kern died as a result of pancreatitis, which constitutes “gross medical negligence.”

The last page of Sekula-Perlman’s autopsy report confirms what she told Kern’s family.

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A 36-year-old Newark man is the latest inmate to die in Delaware’s prison system.

Gernell J. Archie died Friday, Nov. 13 at the Sussex Correctional Institute (SCI) in Georgetown.

He was serving an eight-year sentence for robbery, possession of a weapon and theft.

According to a press release, sent by Department of Correction spokesman John Painter after the Caesar Rodney Institute made inquiries about the death, “no foul play is suspected.” No cause of death information was provided.

Unlike other inmate deaths, the DOC did not notify the Caesar Rodney Institute of Archie’s death via the department’s press release e-mail system. Painter blamed this on another spokesperson, whom he said used an outdated e-mail list.

The death announcement, dated Monday, Nov. 16, was also not placed in the DOC’s press release archive, as has been the DOC’s policy.


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As he was laying on his back in the James T. Vaughn Correction Center infirmary confined to a cot by his ailing health, Benjamin Sudler could feel the bed sores growing on his heels, burrowing their way toward the bone.

Held at the Smryna facility “pre-trial,” legally he was an innocent man.

Sudler knew if he didn’t get out of bed, he’d likely lose his legs.

Sudler, who suffered from strokes and diabetes, had asked for physcial therapy, but his requests were denied by JTVCC staff.

Before I was incarcerated I was receiving professional physical therapy, and I was able to walk with a cane when I entered the correctional facility,” Sudler wrote in a medical grievance obtained by the Caesar Rodney Institute. “The medical system has not provided a physical therapist to help me continue to walk. I am just lying in bed, getting bed sores. I want to receive therapy to help me walk.

Sudler filed his grievance February 2. It was heard by the prison’s grievance committee, which is chaired by a guard corporal, and promptly denied. The Department of Correction won’t say why a guard chairs the committee that hears medical grievances.

Sudler appealed the denial, stating he wanted “to have a therapist help me exercise so I won’t lay on my back all the time.”

The appeal wound its way through the sluggish grievance system, eventually landing on the desk of Bureau Chief Richard Kearney, the former warden of  the Sussex Correctional Institution.

Kearney granted the appeal three months later, after bed sores rotting on Sudler’s heels had reached the bone, which led to the amputation of both of his legs.

Sudler required immediate therapy. If it was to have worked, it should have started once he became bedridden.

Any grievance system that takes three months to correct a poor medical decision can only be thought of as a civil rights violation.

As a result, Sudler lost both legs — an easily preventable trauma for which Delaware taxpayers will no doubt pay.

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October 16, 2009

Department of Correction

Central Administration Building

Commissioner Carl C. Danberg

245 McKee Road

Dover, DE  19904

Commissioner Danberg,

On your recent appearance on WDEL’s Al Mascitti Show, you mentioned that the

Department of Correction’s (DOC) investigation into the David Sully case would

remain confidential.

As you are aware, a report by the Caesar Rodney Institute, entitled “Rogue

Force,” detailed the story of Mr. Sully: a Laurel businessman who was

temporarily held at the Sussex Correctional Institution in June after an arrest on a

minor infraction.  According to Dover attorney Steve Hampton, Mr. Sully was

beaten three times in one day before being taken to Beebe Medical Center for

treatment of his injuries.  At the hospital, the guards reportedly told the staff that

Mr. Sully was a mental patient.

I urge you to reconsider your stance of concealing the probe into this incident.

While our legal system prudently protects the disclosure of selected sensitive

information, the DOC could release some of these findings without violating the

privacy of the alleged victim or interfering with any potential action against

agency personnel.

By concealing the product of this investigation, the Department of Correction is

furthering a public crisis of trust in the department that began with multiple

documented instances of healthcare neglect earlier this decade.  Those incidents

led to the current Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Justice Department,

under which the DOC has been forced to operate for the last three years.

I cannot say if the highly publicized report involving Mr. Sully is accurate.

However, it is certain that a failure to release any information to the public

connected to the DOC’s investigation into these allegations will, rightly or

wrongly, advance the perception that the agency has something to hide.

Within the confines of applicable law, I urge you to make available for public

review any details on the David Sully investigation, as well as any other

investigation the DOC initiates into the many other Caesar Rodney Institute

stories alleging misconduct in the state’s prisons.  Such information could be

posted on the DOC website at no cost to the agency.

I look forward to receiving your timely response.


State House Minority Leader

Richard Cathcart

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