My friend is in prison, which is the number one issue because healthcare in the PA prison system, for lack of better terms, absolutely *****. Anyway, he completely shattered his back when he was younger and has a lot of metal in his back. Because of this he has some circulation issues as well...
Well, lately he has been complaining of his foot being numb and cold. It sweats and turns purple sometimes, mostly at night. When he is moving around it is not so bad but it is a continuing problem. What can be done to help him? I, personally, am afraid that his tissues will die and he will eventually need an amputation, but I am not a certified medical professional, though I have taken a few classes regarding health care. Any advice about things he personally could do and things that should be done medically would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Unfortunately the only non-prescription supplement you can purchase from the prison commisary in Pennsylvania is Centrum multi-vitamins, and he should do so. The advice about legs being elevated is good. Compression stockings are generally not available in the Pennsylvania system unless prescribed. I am not sure we can assume there is a connection between the back injuries and the lack of leg circulation. He should report to the prison infirmary, and request compression stockings. He should also ask for long-acting slow release niacin, which is in the prison system. Unfortunately they usually don't permit outside medications,, even non-prescription to be mailed. The care in Pennsylvania is worse than in most states. He should document his visits and the lack of care and complain through the system. This may or may not bring results, but it should be done.
The Pennsylvania prison system contracts out with three providers for medical care. Usually the best you can get is a Physician's assistant, and those employed with the system are notorious. In addition there is a charge of $2 to even see one of them, plus a $2 medicine chearge, which adds up when the prison pays inmates .19 per hour. If there are problems it would be best to contact the Pennsylvania ACLU, which has been involved in several actions with Pennsylvania corrections to push things in the right direction.
There is some hope. The supreme court ruled this week (May 2011) that California must release up to forty thousand prisoners if they cannot guarantee them appropriate medical trreatment. The case and the decision is on the internet, and the class action tort documents unconscionable disregard for the rights of prisoners. Perhaps the prison officials in Pennsylvania will take note.
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