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Carswell Federal Prisons Topics & Discussions relating to Carswell Federal Prison Camp and Carswell Federal Medical Center located on the Carswell Air Force Base at Fort Worth, Texas.

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  #1  
Old 08-04-2014, 10:17 PM
MarlaRStevens MarlaRStevens is offline
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Angry Wife going blind, unexamined & untreated

I just sent this via the BOP's website. I saved the fact that she's a senior citizen and has osteoporosis (that they also do not treat), making falls that much more dangerous for her, for followup correspondence. Their advertised response time is 20-30 days. I cannot possibly describe how much I hate the BOP and the American system of Injustice.

My wife, by the way, does everything she can to keep her blood sugar under control, often literally starving herself when there is nothing suitable to eat served and when she lacks funds to supplement her diet. The so-called heart-healthy diet is terrible for diabetics. She tries so hard to find something in what they serve that she can eat and not drive her blood glucose through the roof.

While there already, even as a diabetic, she had kidney stones that were, according to the urologist she was finally allowed to see after having two bouts of passing stones on her own with no medical attention at all, killing one of her kidneys. It took well over a year for them to be treated. The urologist was livid at the lack of her being scheduled for exams and treatment and did everything he could to help her get the treatment she needed. He termed the lack of care "medical negligence amounting to malpractice".

What my wife says is that the BOP personnel are uniformly of poor quality when it comes to medical care but that the base personnel are considerably better. Some try hard to help. Others should just be put on trial.

Posted to the BOP:

My spouse, Phyllis Rowe Stevens, Reg. No. 44300-048, at FMC Carswell's Satellite Camp, is going blind in one eye from as yet undiagnosed, much less treated, glaucoma, a complication of her diabetes, exacerbated by the fact that the BOP does not provide the low carbohydrate/high protein diet necessary to keep such complications of diabetes at bay.

My wife has been doing self-checks on this condition since before she arrived at Carswell (and informed medical personnel of the fact that she had been diagnosed with it previously but that resumption of an appropriate diet had shrunk the glaucoma from operable size to smaller than operable size during her pre-trial time at home). In October, 2013, she noticed that the glaucoma had worsened.

She attempted to get seen by the eye doctor but could not get on the list to be seen by him without reporting to sick call, which she did in November 2013. She has been on the waiting list to be seen by the eye doctor ever since, with the practitioner missing the last two scheduled exams.

During this prolonged wait to be examined, she has been progressively losing sight in her eye so that now she can only just barely make out the letters on the emergency exit sign in her building -- and they are now very fuzzy and she's mostly just guessing at what she sees there -- and has suffered falls with minor injuries as a result of her increasingly impaired eyesight.

She has now been forced to file a grievance to Regional because she has not been put back on the eye doctor's schedule.

How blind must my wife become before the BOP will take her condition seriously enough for her to be seen by the practitioner then scheduled for the necessary surgery?

I understand the necessity for triage but, really, a wait time of ten months for a simple exam seems ridiculously long, especially when blindness is the result of this gross lack of care.

I eagerly await your reply. Please include the contact information for the eye doctor, the Regional Medical Director, my wife's counselor and unit manager, and FMC's Medical Director, Associate or Assistant Warden, and the Warden.

Sincerely,
Name & Contact information included
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:21 PM
dcrc50 dcrc50 is offline
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Your wife is blessed to have a husband that cares...Hoping the best for her and you
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:18 PM
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Wife. Your wife is blessed to have a wife who cares. My best to you both.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:13 PM
Zelda50 Zelda50 is offline
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You should go to the FedCURE website and they have a section there to send them the information about your wife and they will follow up with advocacy with a liaison they have with the BOP Medical Director in the Central Office. www.fedcure.org

Good luck and I hope she gets the help she needs!!
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:27 PM
MarlaRStevens MarlaRStevens is offline
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UPDATE: Phyllis was finally examined by the optometrist on Oct. 1, 2014. It took the intervention of Regional Medical as well as a top person in Carswell's medical administration just to get her this simple exam that anyone on the outside can get as a walk-in at WalMart.

Apparently, there was a guard at the back gate where camp inmates go to wait for an escort to the FMC side who was too lazy to pick up a phone and inquire when the escort didn't show up and merely ordered her (and others) to leave -- a practice he's still engaging in from what we can ascertain.

Escort no-shows are a frequent occurrence as the clinics are apparently unorganized zoos and missing camp inmates easily go unnoticed.

It took several sessions where my wife was grilled by various personnel about it, terrifying for a trauma survivor, a number of calls from me to various personnel to make it clear that she was not, as it was being reported by the guard staff, simply choosing to sleep in rather than attend her appointments. (She had missed one months before because the callout sheet was posted after nine o'clock count and she had already gotten ready for bed. Otherwise, she had reported for every appointment as she was supposed to, never to see the optometrist.)

Finally, an Officer Landry from Medical Records was assigned to ensure that Phyllis got past that back gate guard to her appointment.

At that October appointment -- a year later than she was originally requested to be seen by the optometrist, the doctor noted that her vision had degraded from a correctable 20/20 to 20/400 with a completely opaque lens. It takes just 20/200 to be declared legally blind and she was then twice as blind as that.

He wrote that she needed to have lens replacement surgery -- that it was medically necessary -- and wrote an order for special glasses to help her cope until that operation could be secured.

When he tried to reassure her that she would be seen for a pre-operative examination by an ophthalmologic surgeon and have that surgery very quickly, given her advanced condition, Officer Landry was openly contemptuous, saying something to the effect that Phyllis shouldn't hold her breath waiting for it.

When I couldn't get even a ballpark estimate of when she would see the ophthalmologist, much less when she would get the surgery, I contacted one of our senators, Tom Harkin, a lame duck Democrat known for his compassion. He initiated a formal inquiry to which the BOP drafted a timely reply, dated Oct. 23, 2014, but, probably noting that Sen. Harkin was retiring, neglected to deliver it to him until Dec. 15, 2014, just three days prior to him closing his office for the rest of his life.

His staff performed an immediate turnaround response to me that I got just a day later, in time to still consult with them. It was nothing short of a miracle.

They were appalled at the nonresponse response that tried to blame my wife for her condition, including a knowing lie* in response to a congressional inquiry that Phyllis was not showing up for her appointments.

We made a quick inquiry to his colleague, our other senator, Charles Grassley, a senior Republican who was to become the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee with complete oversight over the DOJ and BOP, including all funding measures before they could go to Ways and Means.

Sen. Grassley admired his colleague from the other side of the aisle and does not approve of government hanky-panky or mistreatment of his constituents. They hand-carried the file from Sen. Harkin's office to Sen. Grassley's, whereupon another formal inquiry was initiated.

When the FMC got it about a month ago, Officer Landry was dispatched over to the camp side to get my wife's signature on the release form. He brought with him the glasses that Phyllis was supposed to have gotten immediately back in October. We have no idea how long they had languished undelivered over in Medical Records.

She was approved by Utilization Review to see the ophthalmologist months ago. No appointment has been forthcoming and Phyllis has seen no one scheduled for an ophthalmology appointment on the callout.

The special eye exam chair has been broken since at least October 1st -- they tried to have the optometrist forego Phyllis' exam because of that but, given that the opacity of the lens was so obvious to the naked eye and obviously so serious, the optometrist went ahead with the exam anyway. Apparently, if anyone is being given eye exams now, they're having to be taken outside of the prison for them and it doesn't seem like that's happening.

And this is just to get a pre-surgical consult, after which her case will have to go again before Utilization Review then be scheduled for surgery -- both typically lengthy processes -- before she could actually have the surgery that has an almost certainty of restoring her sight.

How they will handle post-operative care is beyond me.

The problem faced by my wife is not an anomaly. It is business as usual at FMC Carswell, the place the prosecutor termed, whether from ignorance or hateful audacity I do not know, "the premier medical facility in the federal system for women."

There is a special circle in Hell for those who engage in the medical negligence and sometimes outright malpractice of prisoners there. May heaven have mercy on their souls.

Never forget that, when our government takes away the right and ability of our loved ones to care for themselves, it assumes the full responsibility of their care.

*A representative of the warden admitted to me that the Ms. Friday, the medical administrator who had intervened to get my wife to the optometrist's appointment, had to have been involved in creating the response to Sen. Harkin, thus the statement in it that Phyllis was the one at fault was knowingly false.

Last edited by MarlaRStevens; 02-21-2015 at 09:42 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:46 PM
MarlaRStevens MarlaRStevens is offline
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I've gotten quite a lot of help from FAMM but will take your advice and ask FedCURE for help as well.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:04 PM
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The prosecutor was telling the truth; FMC Carswell IS the best medical facility the BoP has for women.

Basically, your wife's treatment is as good as it gets. That's the norm.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:27 AM
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I hope she gets her surgery soon. Lens replacement for cataracts (if that is her problem) is quick and painless. The cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear synthetic lens. The followup I received consisted of three different eyedrops, up to 4 times a day for 30 days, and two examinations by the ophthalmologist (MD surgeon, not optometrist) to check for complications.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:33 AM
MarlaRStevens MarlaRStevens is offline
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It's the norm at FMC Carswell -- in fact, being a squeaky wheel and going up the chain and to power outside it got her care moved along. It is not the best care in the system for women, not by a long shot. If you need to go out for care in the intermediate security facility for women in Minnesota, you go to the Mayo Clinic and there is no better care than that in the U.S. and the staff at the prison actually pays attention to the doctors' recommendations for followups and such. The old FMC in Louisville uses the university medical center for a much higher percentage of care than women in the rest of the center get. It, too, is superb care, even if the physical plant is going to hell in a handbasket. Even Alderson, which may have the worst staff physician in the system, has some caring PAs who are careful to triage patients for U.R. to get the neediest patients to outside care the quickest. As with any of these places, having people on the outside who care and express that in a firm, businesslike manner helps.

She did finally get the surgery, which was made very much more difficult, according to the ophthalmologic surgeon. FMC Carswell screwed up her post-surgical meds, two of which were essential to keep the eye from rejecting/dislodging the replacement lens. I had to get phone calls into the system after hours -- no mean trick -- and reach the surgeon, who managed to call them before the nighttime meds round to get at least one of the missing meds finally administered. She had to have a followup procedure, again because the wait had been so outrageously long, where she discovered that they had withheld altogether her pain medication, forcing her to suffer post-surgical pain that was considerable for no discernable reason. When the doctor found out after the second procedure and complained, it was finally given to her. That was cruel and it was malpractice, period. She continues to have problems due to the length of time she was not treated when she should have been.

It's apparent that the reason they stalled was that it was BOP policy not to treat cataracts if the patient could see out of the other eye, no matter how bad the cataract was or how much not treating was harming the patient. It was called the One-Eye Policy. There had been a case of a man incarcerated in a California state prison under their one-eye policy that was ruled in his favor in federal court. FMC Carswell waited out the period in which the ruling might be overturned and only when we started openly discussing a lawsuit based on it, backed up by inquiries and letters of concern by Sen. Grassley, chair of the committee that controls their budget, did the wheels begin to move for my wife.

As far as I'm concerned, there is a special circle in hell for those responsible for delaying my wife's acknowledged needed care there and if there is any justice, they will be spending eternity in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by safran View Post
The prosecutor was telling the truth; FMC Carswell IS the best medical facility the BoP has for women.

Basically, your wife's treatment is as good as it gets. That's the norm.

Last edited by MarlaRStevens; 01-23-2016 at 01:52 AM..
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