Butner Medical Care

Prison Life

May 17

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 |

I’ve had three appointments with the camp doctor since I have been in here. The appointment yesterday went well. He took an EKG and discussed and reviewed my health history. The doctor said they will schedule me for a ICD checkup, echocardiogram and a colonoscopy.  I recommend that all new inmates schedule all medical appointments immediately.  There are waiting lists like you won’t believe!  Overall, the Butner medical care is sometimes competent, but mostly frustrating or dangerous. Let me give you some examples:

Charles with MS

Charles self-surrendered on Thanksgiving Day. He has MS, a very dangerous neurological disease. He brought all his prescriptions and his medical records. Normally, the medical staff will confiscate all your street prescription, and then reissue the ones they think you need with those from their formulary.

Charles could keep most of his drugs for the first few days only because it was a holiday weekend and there was no one to decide regarding these drugs.  Charles finally saw a nurse who refused to take his street medical records and make them a part of his permanent medical records. The nurse told him that she could care less that he had MS.  She further stated that they don’t treat MS.

Charles has significant muscle pains, sleeping problems, and fatigue, among other symptoms. The nurse took most of his painkillers and drugs that are used to help his muscles. She told him to drink coffee to get rid of his migraines. Charles saw the camp doctor and was told the same thing. The doctor said that they don’t treat MS because it is not life threatening. Charles’s sentencing judge specifically stated that he should be sent to a medical facility that would be able to treat his MS.

The doctor told Charles that the judge’s order meant nothing to the BOP. That statement may be true, but his treatment to date has been total BS! MS is a serious disease with multiple symptoms that will progressively tear his body apart. In addition, if they only treated life threatening illnesses then there would be very little medical treatment here at all.

Charles’s treatment to date is totally contrary to BOP health policy. The bottom line is that BOP doesn’t care what you have been diagnosed with on the street. They will make their own determination. He will need to be diligent about insisting on proper medical treatment.

Smith with Liver Disease

Smith was on a list for a liver transplant before coming to the camp. His doctors found a matching liver and he was scheduled for the transplant. However, Smith was incarcerated in a county jail and the judge refused to let him have the liver transplant. Smith was told that he was being sent to Butner because they could help him with the transplant. He got here and Butner told him that he was in the wrong place for transplants.

This guy has a lot of medical issues so he is knowledgeable about his treatment history and the drugs he takes. Recently, the doctor decided to take him off his prednisone for a reason that my friend did not think was warranted. My friend warned the doctor that it would adversely affect his health but the doctor was insistent. My friend got very sick after getting off the prednisone. The medical staff eventually gave him a chest x-ray which showed a hardening in his left lung. He just started back on the prednisone and he is slowly recovering. He has a lot of stories to tell about his inadequate health care, but the above is indicative.

Randy with Back Pain

Randy has bad back issues that are debilitating. He was given a cortisone shot in this spine. The doctor administering the shot missed the right point and hit some sort of sac by mistake. He was hospitalized for several days at FMC.

David with Cancer

David had thyroid cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma.  He self-surrendered with stitches in his legs following the removal of some melanoma. David brought his own medicine in sealed packages which BOP refused to let him keep. It took three days to get him his medicines. In addition, David was denied the brand name thyroid medicine that his doctor prescribed.  Rather, the camp doctor prescribed a generic that doesn’t work. BOP uses generics, not brand names, regardless whether the generic is a good substitute.

Medical took three weeks and three requests to take out David’s stitches. It took him eleven months to see an oncologist, which he should have seen in the first month. On his oncologist exam, the doctor never even looked at his medical records. He was given a cursory exam and dismissed. David still has not seen a dermatologist after eleven months.

There are a lot more stories such as these, but each of these stories happened to guys located within a cube or two of mine