Despite a court order to improve medical care for inmates, health facilities and treatment in California’s San Quentin prison are so bad that many sick prisoners should not be taken there, say independent examiners quoted by the Los Angeles Times. The court-appointed experts inspected medical records of 10 inmates who died over the last few years in the state’s oldest and best known prison and concluded that in each case, the treatment “showed serious problems” and “most deaths were preventable.”
Doctors and nurses misdiagnosed illnesses, gave the wrong medications, neglected patients for months and even years or delayed sending them to emergency rooms until they were fatally ill, the said discovered. The examiners saw a dentist examine inmate after inmate while wearing the same pair of gloves. Records were in such disarray that doctors reported that they could not find medical files for at least 30 percent of the inmates they examined. Examiners found extensive shortcomings with the medical care at two other prisons. The site reports raise major questions about California’s compliance with the settlement of a lawsuit charging that inmate medical care was so poor it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.