CA Prison Doctor Has Long History of Sterilizations


A prison doctor investigated by the California medical board after ordering tubal ligations without state approval is responsible for hundreds of other inmate sterilizations, reports The Center for Investigative Reporting. Dr. James Heinrich also has a history of medical controversies and expensive malpractice settlements both inside and outside prison walls. Female patients have accused him not just of trying to dictate their reproductive decisions, but also of unsanitary practices and botched surgeries that injured them and their infants.

Despite that history, Heinrich was not only hired by the prison system, but also kept on once a federal judge appointed a receiver to clean up the prison's medical system. Heinrich, 69, retired from Valley State Prison for Women in 2011 after six years, during which his total annual pay reached a high of nearly $237,000. Federal authorities rehired Heinrich as a contract physician, and he continued treating inmates at Valley State though December 2012. Since then, he has not worked at the prison. During a previous interview, Heinrich blamed a bad hip.

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