Negligence, Malpractice Still Rampant in Salinas Prison

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Seven years after a judge ruled that federal oversight was necessary to correct serious health care issues at Salinas Valley State Prison, experts have reported that conditions at the prison are still inadequate and problematic.

Inmates at Salinas are still dying due to medical malpractice and negligence, despite federal intervention, reports the Los Angeles Times. A recent 106-page report on conditions at the prison discusses the deaths of several inmates, including a man with a heart infection that went untreated. Others have been seriously injured through negligence, such as one inmate with back pain that led to progressive paralysis from the waist down—which was treated only with a catheter.

The report also describes cases in which prisoners were cut off from pain medication, without being seen by a doctor.

Federal oversight was mandated for Salinas in 2006, when U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson determined that on average, one inmate per week died at the prison due to negligence or medical malpractice. An investigation was also launched into the prison’s mental health care facilities, which found that at least two inmates with histories of trying to harm themselves had committed suicide due to inadequate mental health care.

The recent study finds that conditions at Salinas Valley State Prison have not sufficiently improved. According to the Chronicle, inspectors submitted in their report that health care treatment at the facility is “incomplete and fragmented,” and “callous.” The health care facilities themselves were described as “filthy.”

Prison health care staff at Salinas is also fraught with issues. Inspectors reported that over half of the prison’s doctors are under professional monitoring, and several nurses accused of diverting drugs are still employed at the prison. Additionally, the report notes that emergency medical treatment is sometimes given in hallways, rather than the medical facility.

If you or a loved one is considering a medical malpractice or negligence lawsuit, contact San Diego personal injury attorney Melinda J. Helbock. Ms. Helbock has successfully represented clients in many cases of negligence and malpractice.