The California Department of Corrections spent $1.27 million in just six months on medical care for six comatose inmates last year, reports the Associated Press. That doesn’t count more than $1,000 per day for each guard it cost for security. The debate in Florida over whether Terri Schiavo wished to die – and who should decide her fate if she is unable to – is the same debate going on in California’s prisons, said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero.
One inmate who was hospitalized from Nov. 7, 2003 until he died Jan. 12 cost the department $851,880 by the end of 2004. The state may need to find a way for inmates to sign release forms to indicate their health care wishes and do a better job notifying family members, said Romero. Private doctors make medical decisions once inmates go to outside hospitals, and there is often confusion over when family members should be brought in to help with care decisions.