Does Privatized Prison Healthcare Lead to Malpractice?
When Florida privatized prison healthcare, the move was supposed to save taxpayers millions. Unfortunately, the budget cuts came with substandard care, and for many inmates, their prison term became a death sentence.
Doctors are alarmed, saying that prisons are abruptly swapping out prescription pain medication for over-the-counter substitutes. One inmate’s undiagnosed lung cancer was treated with Tylenol and warm compresses. Another inmate received Aleve to treat side effects of bone cancer.
Healthcare professionals outside the prison system have been worried about the changes for several years. It was hard enough when the state took care of things, but now their medical advice is being ignored.
“We order surgery and they don’t come in. They are dying before they get to surgery,” said one anonymous source.
The number of inmates referred to outside hospitals has dropped by almost 50 percent. Since the number of prisoners has not dropped, the decline most likely means that ill and injured inmates are not getting the care they need.
The Post analyzed data about inmate mortalities, and determined that inmate deaths had skyrocketed to a 10-year high merely 100 days after private industries took control. The data only included deaths from natural or medical causes, including disease, infection and suicide.
Are Prisons Required to Provide Healthcare for Inmates?
No prison is required to provide excellent or superfluous healthcare. However, even privately run facilities are legally bound to provide adequate care, based on the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Florida prisoners may have committed a crime, but they have not been sentenced to death. The law requires prison officials to provide basic healthcare, but private facilities would let inmates suffer and pocket the funds.
If your loved one suffered serious injury due to any form of medical malpractice, talk to the attorneys at Shapiro Law Group. We are dedicated to getting justice for every client, so call and share your story with us today.
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