Monday, February 12, 2007
From fwweekly.com: Hospital personnel at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, TX took so long to call the exterminators for an ant infestation in December that the tiny biters were found crawling on comatose and dying patients in their beds and covering the body of at least one paraplegic.
Last week a woman with heart trouble collapsed and died after complaining repeatedly that her pacemaker was not working properly, only to be sent back to her ward without treatment. And when prison authorities were told last month by one of their own doctors that a breast cancer patient whose left breast had been removed needed a CAT scan because of a probable recurrence of cancer, she was ordered instead to go for a mammogram on the breast that no longer exists. When she demanded the scan instead, she was written up for refusing medical care.
Those charges and others were made recently by two inmate patients at Carswell — Ramona Holcombe, the breast cancer victim who, according to her attorney, also witnessed the ant infestation, and a second woman who found the dead inmate. The latter asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation. These are just the latest, however, in the litany of allegations of medical misconduct and neglect reported to Fort Worth Weekly since 1999 by female prisoners and their families at the facility located just outside Fort Worth’s western city limits, the only hospital in the country for chronically ill and dying women in the federal penal system.
The federal Bureau of Prisons for years has ignored, denied, and downplayed the growing mountain of evidence of often- fatal malpractice at Carswell. Now, with a U.S. senator, a retired Texas judge, a sitting federal judge, and others finally bringing official attention to bear, prison officials have responded — and their responses are filled with contradictions, errors, and statements that make it appear that they don’t even know which civilian hospital they send their patients to. The responses also indicate that families have repeatedly been given false information about such things as autopsies. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]