4 Factors Often Involved In Serious Prison System Personal Injury Cases

Posted on: 21 May 2015

Time in prison is meant to punish guilty parties for their crimes in a humane and just manner. Humane treatment must include prompt access to medical care provided by professionals able to accurately diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. Unfortunately, recent investigations revealed that prisons across the United States lack the medical response, capabilities and equipment to keep inmates healthy throughout their stay. In fact, the lack of medical care has lead to permanent disability and even premature death of inmates unable to seek help for themselves. The resulting personal injury cases all share a few common factors across the board. Read on to learn more information.

Delayed Response Time

Reports abound of prisoners waiting for too long for medical assistance to arrive after making a formal request for services. Prisoners cannot simply walk into the clinic and request a checkup or treatment for a serious illness or injury. Instead, prisoners must submit a written request to a guard who delivers it to the clinic for prioritization. Clinic operators arrange the requests by perceived severity, which may leave prisoners waiting days, weeks or months for an appointment. Delays in treatment allow potentially reversible conditions, including cancer, to rapidly progress through the severity stages to terminal status.

Inaccurate Diagnosis

Even when inmates do receive a medical examination, the diagnosis and treatment protocol may not adequately address the condition in a reasonable manner. Doctors may miss cancerous tumors or other serious signs of a problem from a lack of training or time with the patient. Medical professionals often brush off serious symptoms, like headache, chest pain or breathing difficulties, as signs of common ailments, such as allergies or panic attacks. One such patient was treated as if she was overreacting to potential labor pains, causing her to have to give birth in solitary confinement, which resulted in the child's death and lasting injuries for the patient.

Lack of Medical Equipment

Civilian hospitals often have MRI, CT scan and ultrasound equipment to officially confirm the doctor's given diagnosis. Prison clinics, on the other hand, do not have the equipment on hand to diagnose internal conditions. Instead, the prisoner must be transported to a local hospital for the right tests or procedures. Prison officials will not make that order unless faced with an obvious, life threatening diagnosis. Furthermore, many prisons lack simple lifesaving pieces of equipment, such as intubation kits and defibrillators, leading to unnecessary loss of life.

Outright Dirty Facilities

Medical regulations honored in the outside world do not always apply to prisons. Many of the clinics found in prisons are unsanitary at best, which contributes to spreading illness and premature deaths in that population. Medical caregivers in prisons may use the same vinyl gloves on each patient examined throughout the day. Rooms used for exams may lack hand washing stations and clean paper barriers on the tables. Instead of seeking a solution, prison officials simply blame poor funding and archaic policies for the disastrous state of the medical facilities available to inmates.

Settling The Case In Court

Personal injury lawyers write up and present the facts of each prison related personal injury case to help court officials determine fault. If the prison did not appropriate respond to the victim's complaints, diagnose the condition correctly, utilize the proper equipment or provide adequate treatment, court officials will rule on compensation allowed for the resulting damages.

If the victim survived the ordeal, personal injury lawyers provide the court with documents about ongoing medical care costs, pain and suffering, lifelong disability percentages and lost wages upon returning to civilian life to identify a suitable compensation rate. Lawyers can also represent the family of victims who died in prison from a lack of medical assistance.  Court officials consider the mental and financial affects on surviving family members to determine the best compensation amount to award. 

For more information about personal injury law, check out companies like Dreyer & Dreyer Attorneys At Law.