MISSISSIPPI. Prisoners are unable to seek medical care from outside doctors or hospitals. As a result, they are dependent on the prison system and its physicians to provide them with adequate and proper medical care. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that prisons have a duty to provide proper medical care to prisoners. Under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, failure to provide proper medical care can be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
Yet, recent news reports suggest that prisoners may not receive the medical care they need and deserve. This can occur due to deliberate indifference on the part of guards or prison medical professionals to the rights and concerns of the ailing person. This creates an added layer of culpability when considering medical malpractice lawsuits for prisoners. A guard may not be a medical professional, but may have a duty to seek medical care for an inmate if the prisoner is sick. Failing to do so can result in inadequate medical care or a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Prisoners have also complained that their treatment was delayed unnecessarily. If you know someone who may have suffered needlessly as a result of medical negligence in prison, it is important to know that you and your loved ones have rights. The medical malpractice lawyers at Bullock & Wood in Mississippi see a range of cases involving medical malpractice and our firm can help you navigate some of the complicated issues that can arise when making a medical malpractice claim in Mississippi.
Prisoners may face unique medical challenges and guards should be trained to handle these medical emergencies. Drug withdrawal, suicidal ideation, and other issues can arise with prisoners. In a recent case, reported by Michigan Live, guards ignored a prisoner who was suffering from sepsis, an infection that can begin with an untreated opened wound. Despite cries for help from the patient and surrounding inmates, staff failed to get the patient help. Staff were aware of the prisoner’s deteriorating condition, but didn’t act.
Another issue that prisons face is limited doctor to patient ratios, which may create issues in access to critical care. According to the Center for Health Journalism, in the state of Virginia, there are only 40 doctors to treat 30,000 prisoners. Most of the care that prisoners receive is through nurses, some of whom may only have 1 year of training. In some cases, inmates didn’t receive emergency care even when they experienced heart attack symptoms. Other patients were told that they’d have to wait a week to see a doctor.
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt or suffered from a worsening illness due to inadequate medical care in prison, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, the public isn’t always aware of the problems prisoners face and the fact that many lack access to crucial treatment. Many families pursue medical malpractice lawsuits in order to raise awareness of the issue and to cover ongoing care for their loved one. Visit to learn more about your rights.