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  #1  
Old 08-19-2020, 10:24 PM
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Unhappy CA attorney for medical (COVID-19) habeas corpus

Hi. So, my husband is 18 years in on 25 to life, a third striker. He has asthma and epilepsy. He's always been told he has a hole in his heart, but I don't think he has been diagnosed at CDCR for that. He has literally reams of medical notes from CDCR (I received copies up to 2014, when we filed an unsuccessful habeas corpus). He believes that he has been considered high risk medically since 2006 or 2007.

At the end of Feb, he transferred to Ironwood State Prison from Lancaster, where he'd been for 3 years and was flagged as high risk medical.

Apparently, in May, the doctor at ISP downgraded his med status to medium risk. My husband received paperwork that indicated this, but either he didn't read it or didn't notice until July, when I sent him info that high risk medical folks were eligible for early release. At that point, he initiated a medical 602.

He's never seen the doctor in person, and we believe that the doctor should not have made this call.

I recently filed a petition with the governor for him to be released for his medical risks in re: COVID-19, before I knew that his med status had been downgraded. Yesterday, I emailed the petition to the warden and ombudsman.

Today, the ombudsman replied to my email and said that he doesn't qualify for early release because his status is medium risk.

The same doctor removed my husband's wool allergy chrono because the prison uses synthetic wool in their blankets.

Husband's 602 first level hearing was unsuccessful. Doctor said he talked with my husband when he first arrived about changing his med status. Husband says he is lying. He's now waiting for the second level hearing with Sacramento.

I want to line up an attorney to write a habeas corpus if the 602 ultimately fails to change his status back to high risk, which i believe he is. There's exhaustive documentation to support this vs. on person's evaluation of, apparently, my husband's records. The doctor has never examined my husband. The doctor apparently does video exams with the inmates. My husband doesn't even know the doctor's name.

Wondering if anyone has heard about other inmates having their med status downgraded during the pandemic, especially without an in-person assessment
or examination. And I'm looking for an attorney rec who might be willing to work with an inmate in far east Riverside County, CA I've had good conversations with Uncommon Law, but they won't take on a client so far from their Oakland office.

Thanks sincerely.
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Old 08-19-2020, 11:18 PM
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The BOP has been reviewing inmates medical status as well without an in person visit. Every medical inmate has to be reviewed so that would be far too many to see in person. I would search in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City; those will be the cities where you’ll find someone willing to take a case in Blythe.
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Old 08-20-2020, 07:38 AM
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The BOP has been reviewing inmates medical status as well without an in person visit. Every medical inmate has to be reviewed so that would be far too many to see in person. I would search in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City; those will be the cities where you’ll find someone willing to take a case in Blythe.
Thanks so much, this is good validation for me. It seems likely that this move was BOP-instigated, although it took place in May and I don't know if BOP started a comprehensive review yet. There's so much info and answers that I don't have access to.

Even if the BOP was behind it, i think that a legal challenge is a worthwhile effort, i.e., it might be winnable. I found a couple possibilities for attorneys in the Palms, and I'll call them today.

Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2020, 09:05 AM
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I just found this information in a legal brief the legal assistant from UnCommon Law had sent me:

"Defendants [CDCR] employ a weighted risk-scoring system in their reports on people in custody with an elevated risk of complications from COVID-19 infections.1 Over 83% of people with a weighted risk score of 9 or higher are Armstrong class members. The system is based on the following risk factors, with their weights listed in parentheses:

1 Age 65+ (4), Advanced Liver Disease (2), Persistent Asthma (1), High Risk Cancer (2), Chronic Lung Disease - Other (including Cystic Fibrosis, Pneumoconiosis, or Pulmonary Fibrosis) (1), COPD (2), Diabetes (1), High Risk Diabetes (1), On Dialysis (2), Heart Disease (1), High Risk Heart Disease (1), HIV/AIDS (1), Poorly Controlled HIV/AIDS (1), Immunocompromised (2), Morbid Obesity (1), Other High Risk Chronic Conditions (1), and Pregnancy (1).” Galvan Decl. ¶ 4. The total of the weighted scores for each risk factor is reported as the COVID Weighted Risk Score." (From Case 4:94-cv-02307-CW Document 2996 Filed 07/14/20, page 8, footnote 1)

If the administration changed his medical risk status based on a BOP review, if it wasn't a rogue doctor unilaterally changing his status, then challenging it legally doesn't seem too hopeful. Indeed, my husband would be a 1 under this scoring system, maybe 2, depending on what's included in "Other High Risk Chronic Conditions". If they have people who have higher numbers, it would be reasonable to call him medium compared to them.

The virus doesn't work along those lines, but I can see how he might be seen as "lower than" other people, aka medium.

Last edited by thingsnotseen; 08-20-2020 at 09:11 AM.. Reason: add citation
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2020, 09:55 AM
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Lightbulb

I'm answering my own question.

Found this on Prison Law Office: https://prisonlaw.com/wp-content/upl...etter-full.pdf

Specifically indicates that CDCR considers high risk a score of 4 and higher using the weighted risk scoring.

So even if it was a doctor who made the change unilaterally, it sounds like CDCR would administratively come to the same decision.
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Old 08-22-2020, 09:33 AM
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The high risk medical you refer to is the last cohort of releases that CDCR is working on. CDCR is being less than forthcoming with the courts on "who" they have determined to be high risk. Their numbers are misleading claiming they have released 17000 or therebout so far but a good portion of that claim involves actions that are not really releases - county jails, moving out of half way houses, stuff like that.

That is frustrating the courts and PLO and RBGG who are adjudicating the Coleman / Plata releases. They are pushing to get more accurate info on releases and on who is in this final category of high risk medical.

There is high risk medical which you discuss re your husband which is a general category they have always maintained. Then there is high risk COVID medical which you list the criteria above. That is new and that is a separate category. That is what will determine the final cohort of releases. BOP has nothing to do with that because it's negotiated between CDCR and the court.

I think you are correct being suspect of individual Doctors influence on this. They are likely the ones who decide if an inmate gets points on the various COVID weighted scoring. They can't fake the fact you are over 65. But I don't trust these Doctors when it comes to assessing any of the other conditions for COVID high risk. I think a lot of prison doctors are POS's. They are being given unwarranted power in this process. Assessment needs to be done by outside "independant" medical before I would ever trust what they do with this. I don't see that happening.
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:53 AM
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I don't trust these Doctors when it comes to assessing any of the other conditions for COVID high risk. I think a lot of prison doctors are POS's. They are being given unwarranted power in this process. Assessment needs to be done by outside "independant" medical before I would ever trust what they do with this. I don't see that happening.
I absolutely agree. My sense is that prisons are where doctors who have washed out of better jobs go for a last chance to get paid to practice medicine. I don't know if that's literally true, but it's my bias.

Thanks so much for giving more context here. I appreciate it!
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:08 AM
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Default Medical Negligence

Looking for attorney who is willing to take on CDCR for medical negligence. My husband had to have his kidney removed due to cancer (caused by medicine given to him by CDCR)

When it was first discovered CDCR kept putting the surgery off even though an outside doctor said the kidneys needed to be removed immediately. He now has a nodule on his lungs due to the delay of the removal of the kidney. The cancer has had time to spread.

When he returned from the surgery the outside hospital gave the instructions that he needed to be under 24 hour medical care, they put him in Ad Seg. He came in contact with a C0 two times a day. He was in pain, he felt like his stitches tore and he had a stroke.
(So much for 24 hour medical care)

He went man down, we don’t know how long he was down, because he doesn’t remember anything except standing up to go to the sink and then somebody shaking him asking him if he was OK. So we have no idea how long he was on the floor.

He was taken by helicopter to Stanford and they discovered that he had a blood clot in the brain. It was due to the surgery and the fact that they found a hole in his heart. He was sent to an acute rehab place and then when they sent him back to the prison they put him back in Ad Seg. Once again he was supposed to be under 24 hour medical care due to the risk of having another stroke. But they put him in a room all by himself.

He is still at high risk for having another stroke, he is supposed to be going out to have the hole in his heart repaired and have the nodule on his lung removed but, of course they keep postponing the dates. So who knows how far the cancer will spread. He still does not have complete control of his left side of his body and he is having mini strokes. No medical follow through except to tell him what they are “going to do”

Between the cancer and the strokes and if he needs to start chemo for the cancer I think he is at high risk for COVID-19. He’s 56, he’s diabetic, he does have high blood pressure that must be maintained by medicine in order to keep him from having another stroke

CDCR is going to kill him. He needs to be out so I can take care of him and get him top notch medical care.

I need help, I don’t know what to do or how to do it.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:27 AM
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I am soooo sorry your loved one is going thru this. Its so beyond the pale how they refuse to treat patients.

I hope someone knows what to do and can offer advice about who to contact.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:47 AM
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A lot of issues. Don't count on a COVID release, very little of that is happening. Priority is him getting appropriate medical care. An attorney who specializes in post conviction relief - filing Habeas etc. - would be where I'd start looking for legal help.

If you have not got them already, you will need his CDCR medical records. To get those you will need to have him fill out and sign CDCR Form 7385 "Authorization for Release of Protected Medical Information". He can ask for it or you can download and mail him a copy. Once you have that signed form, write to the head of medical or legal at his prison, include the signed form, and ask for all records. I think they charge a small fee for printing. His records will include copies of what the various outside Doctors, Hospitals, Surgeons and Specialists have done and recommended.

Based on what you describe, be prepared for several thousands of pages that someone needs to plow through to find the specific diagnosis and recommendations to support claims and get him better care. It sucks. A lot of work. What he says to you about what Doctors say and what CDCR is doing will not be enough though. So get those records.
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Old 11-20-2020, 11:38 PM
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I recently read about a woman who was released as the prison was not providing timely care. I'll dig it up. Unfortunately, soon after, I found out a friend was told by the doctor he has cancer. So i'm like wtf am I supposed to do? I can get him insurance, I can pay for a lawyer, but not much else.

I'm sorry but those that are pregnant or have cancer should not be in prison.
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