E-Alerts & Press Releases

4 letters and 2 months for prisoner to get safe prescription

June 30, 2007: Our Prisoners Rights team is regularly called upon to intervene when a detainee at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) is not provided with adequate or timely health care. The following is but one example of these cases. One of our interns, David Epstein, has been advocating for several months for Mr. H, a BCDC inmate with severe pain due to herniated discs in his lumbar spine. While he had been receiving Percocet prior to his arrest, BCDC physicians instead prescribed Motrin, which did not ease his pain and put him at risk for stomach perforation (because of his preexisting stomach ulcers). His medical chart includes countless sick call slips he filed about his excruciating pain, to which BCDC doctors consistently responded by prescribing more Motrin. David wrote to the Assistant Attorney General representing the jail, advising them that they should not prescribe Motrin or other NSAIDS to someone with possible ulcers. The jail changed the medication to yet another NSAID. David again pointed out the black box warnings on this medication that it was contraindicated for people with stomach ulcers. After four advocacy letters and two months, jail medical staff consented to provide proper medical treatment and changed the prescription to Percoset. Mr. H has since been released from BCDC and is pursuing surgery along with a safe and effective analgesic regimen.

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