Privatised prisons are a growing blight on the Western world. Governments love them because they pass responsibility to somebody else. But when profits come before care, the system is sick:
Arnold Porter was serious, and seriously worried. He was dizzy and short of breath, he told Dr. William Sightler, with a crushing, tightening sensation in his chest with pain shooting up once side of his neck. “Maybe I have a clogged artery. This is not my normal health,” he told Dr. Sightler. “Please help. I need something fast done.”
Slow motion heart attacks, in which symptoms leading up to full cardiac arrest build and worsen gradually over weeks or months are quite common. Porter should have been a lucky man, being able to bring his heart attack symptoms into in a physician’s office, except for one thing. Porter was a prisoner at Georgia’s Wheeler Correctional facility, operated by the notorious Corrections Corporation of America. And William Slighter was their doctor, not his.
According to a complaint filed in US District Court in Dublin Ga, Porter repeatedly and insistently sought medical aid throughout the month of December 2006, informing Dr. Sightler and a prison nurse of his symptoms, and urgently requesting some kind, any kind of diagnostic treatment for his chest pain, shortness of breath, profuse sweating and the other classic markers of cardiac disease. By December 29, the complaint states, Porter’s symptoms were well documented in his file, but the first appointment with Dr. Sightler was delayed a full 35 days. It was at this appointment that Porter stated he thought he might have a clogged artery, and asked for help.
Dr. Sightler, Nurse Newcurt, and the prison’s Director of Nursing Carolyn White, the complaint alleges, did nothing. Wheeler is a privatized prison, run by a highly profitable corporation. Private prisons, as well as publicly-run prisons with privatized medical care have built-in reasons to skimp on diagnostic testing and all kinds of care. Medical care costs money, and they’re in business to make it, not to spend it.