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Brauner has just learned his protein levels are too low to proceed with the surgery scheduled for the following week, and he is trying to come to terms with his disappointment. Brauner, imprisoned on a rape conviction he maintains was wrongful, had his life change forever in when, working in the fields at Dixon Correctional Institute, he suffered a back injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
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Classified by an officer as dangerous—despite being unable to walk—Brauner was placed on a bed in solitary confinement, without access to a wheelchair. The pressure of his own body wore on his skin and created bedsores, which became infected.
The infection tunneled through his buttocks and scrotum, exposing bone. Within a month, it reached his blood and heart, requiring emergency surgery. He spent the next 10 years fighting the prison for medical care.
As the official grievances he filed went nowhere, Brauner began to fear for his life. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting. Old times there are not forgotten Tucked into a bend of the Mississippi River, Angola is the largest maximum-security state prison in the country.
It is also a working plantation bigger than Manhattan. Today, the cotton is picked and the sugar cane cut by crews of prisoners, who are mostly black, overseen by armed guards on horseback.
Cain, who stepped down in amid revelations of suspect real estate dealings with relatives of prisoners, spent his career one step ahead of scandal: During his tenure, a journalist accused him of extortion, the FDA seized cases of expired evaporated milk that prisoners were labeling for resale, and prisoners brought suits alleging discrimination against non-Evangelicals.
Angola is also widely known for its on-site hospice, where dying men receive end-of-life care from fellow prisoners. The hospice is the subject of a feature-length documentary produced by Oprah and narrated by Forest Whitaker.
Prisoners who die at Angola receive elaborate funerals, complete with a horse-drawn hearse, a handmade coffin and burial in one of two prison graveyards.
Yet, judging by the experience of Brauner and hundreds of other incarcerated men, the respect offered to the dead and dying at Angola deflects attention from a brutal reality: Death on the installment plan Desperate for better care, Brauner secretly recorded the details of his medical treatment, hoping to build a lawsuit against the prison and medical staff.
Brauner kept the logs hidden in his locker, and in showed them to Nick Trenticosta, a New Orleans-based attorney who was considering using Brauner as a witness in an unrelated death penalty appeal.
The lawyers interviewed hundreds of men to build their case and documented one medical horror story after another. No one was harmed, but since Hurd had prior felonies, he received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. According to the complaint, at Angola, Hurd developed extreme pain in his side.
He repeatedly requested medical attention starting inbut his pain was dismissed as gas. Over the following five years, he developed numbness in his feet, legs and fingertips, lost his appetite, and dropped nearly pounds. When he finally received a CT scan inhe was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his kidneys and lungs—most likely a terminal condition.
Another plaintiff, Alton Adams, 53, suffers from peripheral artery disease, but allegedly was told the state could not afford the stent he needed to save his right leg. A blood clot formed that led to three consecutive amputations. According to the complaint, Adams sees the same issues developing in his left leg, but fears that if he pushes for care, he will face retaliation.
The Louisiana Department of Corrections, which runs the prison, did not respond to requests for comment by In These Times, citing ongoing litigation. Anjali Niyogi, who directs a transition clinic for the recently incarcerated in New Orleans and treats current Angola prisoners as a physician at University Medical Center, has a different perspective.
According to the lawsuit and interviews conducted by In These Times, at Angola today, emergency medical technicians EMTs —not physicians, physician assistants or nurses—are the gatekeepers who determine which patients need urgent medical treatment and which should be sent back to their cells.
EMTs receive between and 1, hours of training, compared to the years required for medical degrees. If the EMTs suspect a patient of malingering, or faking illness to get out of work, he may receive a disciplinary write-up, which can lead to extended solitary confinement.
Clifford Doleman, who was incarcerated at Angola from to and worked as a prisoner orderly there, says that the ailing men he assisted were afraid to request medical care, thanks to a general assumption that prisoners were faking. All of them were out of the window [for treatment] because it either took them a while to get here or the medical staff at Angola did not think the inmate was having a stroke.IS BALL-LIGHTNING DANGEROUS?
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