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  • mcprison mcprison Dec 9, 2000 12:26 PM Flag

    WHC wins one in court

    Corrections Professional

    December 8, 2000

    SECTION: Vol. 6, No. 7

    LENGTH: 314 words

    HEADLINE: Jail operator wins medical care lawsuit, draws
    rebuke from judge

    A federal judge in
    Pennsylvania sympathized with some of the problems an
    HIV-positive inmate encountered in obtaining adequate medical
    care, but said the troubles did not rise to a violation
    of his constitutional right against cruel and
    unusual punishment.

    Background: Maxcell Clark
    Jr., who has HIV and hepatitis C, filed suit on his
    own behalf against Delaware County Prison, operated
    by the Wackenhut Corrections Corp. in the suburbs
    outside Philadelphia.

    Clark gave the court a
    180-paragraph list of complaints about the quality of medical
    care he received between May 1997 and June 1999. Among
    the more significant problems noted were Wackenhut's
    three-week delay in letting him see a physician, its initial
    refusal to provide milk rather than water with his
    medications so the pills wouldn't be taken on an empty
    stomach, and a denial of over-the-counter remedies for
    headaches, fevers, colds and back pain.

    In addition,
    Clark said a nurse treated his oral thrush, an
    opportunistic infection associated with AIDS, by using an
    alcohol swab rather than the medication he said had been
    prescribed by his physician.

    Ruling: In dismissing
    the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Thomas N. O'Neill
    Jr., said he recognized "the serious nature of
    plaintiff's condition" and did not condone the actions
    attributed to Wackenhut personnel. However, most of the
    inmate's allegations centered on differences of opinion
    about the proper course of treatment. The defendants
    considered and acted upon most of the inmate's requests,
    even if he was not satisfied with the responses.
    Finally, there was no evidence the inmate's health was
    impaired by the defendant's actions. As a result, he could
    not make a prima facie case that the defendants were
    deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, in
    violation of the Eighth Amendment.

    Clark v. Doe,
    No. 99-5616 (E.D. Pa., 10/13/00).

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