SACRAMENTO -- Inmates are dying from inadequate medical care at the state prison in Monterey, even under the watch of the federal courts, a team of experts reported Friday.
The reviewers told U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson that care in the Salinas Valley State Prison is "incomplete and fragmented” and "callous," with major abuse of opiates, nurses accused of pilfering drugs, and doctors who ignore patient needs. Clinics were described as "filthy," and emergency medical treatment was performed in hallways, the report stated.
The 106-page report notes that more than half of the physicians are under some sort of professional monitoring, that nurses accused of diverting drugs are still employed in the mail room, and that the prison has gone through four chief medical officers in four years, the current one being part-time.
It chronicles the deaths of several patients, including a man whose heart infection went untreated, and the case of a prisoner with back pain who became progressively paralyzed from the waist down yet received only a catheter. The report also documents cases where doctors ordered pain medications for prisoners to be cut off without seeing those patients.