On Thursday night, I noted that I had a call-out to go to the medical center (FMC) yesterday for an ultrasound for my first FMC visit. I quickly found out that I had to be at the bus at 8 am, even though my appointment was at 9:30 am. I missed the bus since I had to pick up my uniforms at 7:30. The camper who coordinates the transfers to the medical center found me. The bus had already left. To my delightful surprise, they have campers who are drivers for the Camp. I had one of these drivers take me to FMC.
A side note – They have “complex” drivers and “town” drivers at the Camp. Few of the campers have a valid driver’s license, so they sometimes have difficulty finding drivers. These guys are very busy. One driver told me that he is driving about 200 miles a day. These trips include running errands (e.g.; Home Depot) and driving guys to the airport and bus depot. One of the guys told me that he took someone as far away as Charlotte. I put in for a driver’s job yesterday but they won’t consider me until I get four months under my belt here. I just would like to get out and see the real world.
The FMC building has the look and feel of any other hospital, but with tighter security. This is the only hospital for the nearly 5,000 men at Butner so it is very active every day. There are wings for cancer care, regular hospital ward beds, mental health ward, and a residential dorm like the other prison facilities. I can’t tell you exactly the layout for these because I didn’t see them.
BOP sends inmates to outside hospitals (including Duke) for operations and treatment that FMC can’t handle. The doctors and staff seemed to be a combination of permanent employees and contract workers. Everyone seemed professional. The equipment I observed all seemed state of the art.
The complex driver took me to the Medium since it is the inmate control center for the Camp. I walked in to the Medium’s front door to check-in with the guards there. This just comprised me showing the control guard my ID so he can record that I am no longer on the Camp compound. It was no big deal.
Inmates wait in the FMC reception area for a CO to escort them to the FMC’s R&D. In R&D, all inmates are given temporary clothing and a full strip search. A CO then escorts the inmates to their appointment waiting room and then back to the R&D area at the end of the visit. I was not placed in cuffs at this facility.
Inmates from the higher security facilities are segregated from the Campers and go through much higher security procedures. They get different color temporary clothing from the campers. But, the biggest hassle is that they are required to be transported from their facilities in cuffs and shackles.
The appointment waiting room is locked by the guard so movement is controlled. We were given our lunch in the waiting room. This is an all-day affair with a lot of waiting – at R&D, in the waiting room waiting to be called for the appointment, and more waiting for the return to R&D.
I caught a van from the FMC to the Camp with the one stop at Medium to be checked back into the compound. I probably got back to the camp around 2 pm. We must check-in with medical upon our return. I told them that the ultrasound tech said that I would be notified if the test showed any problems for follow-up.
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