Report Critical of Medical Care for California Inmates
As many as 66 inmates in California's prison system died last year because of poor medical care, according to a report released Wednesday by prison medical receiver Robert Sillen, the AP/Ventura County Star reports.
The report reviewed 381 deaths and found that 18 were preventable and 48 possibly were preventable. Suicides and executions were not included in the report.
Sillen estimated it will take one to two years before the number of preventable deaths declines as the prison system hires more competent physicians and nurses (AP/Ventura County Star, 9/20).
The report found a consistent pattern of:
- Delays in diagnosis;
- Poor access to physicians and medical tests;
- Improper handling of medical records; and
- Failure of medical staff to recognize and treat dangerous conditions (Reiterman, Los Angeles Times, 9/20).
One-third of the preventable deaths were from asthma, according to the report.
As a result, Sillen unveiled a new emphasis on diagnosing and treating asthma. He also seeks more cooperation among physicians in reviewing medical cases, as well as better monitoring of patients and their tests (AP/Ventura County Star, 9/20).
Sillen said it will take him another decade to bring the system into constitutional compliance. He added that he will use the report as the new standard for judging his future progress.
Prison officials declined to comment on the report (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 9/20).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Thursday reported on the report. The segment includes comments from Sillen (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 9/20).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Thursday also reported on the report. The segment includes comments from Sillen and an inmate (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/20).
Audio of the segment is available online.