PART OF PRISON REFORM SERIES
January 1, 2004
RE: Denial of essential medical care by the State of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Corrections and the sabotage of Hepatitis C Virus medical treatment by state contracted medical care providers.
Hello, my name is Jimmy Kinslow, I am a forty - four year old man who made a terrible mistake when I was an impressionable teenager in 1978. Under the influence of a thirty two year old biker, affiliated with the Banditos Motorcycle Club in Southwest Texas, some innocent people lost their lives. I have never denied my participation in these terrible crimes, and have sought some method of atonement since the beginning, without much measurable success, given my long imprisonment.
I was incarcerated in New Mexico when I was sent to Illinois in 1995. In the summer of 2000 I became deathly ill with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) from knee surgery I had when I was sixteen. It was my good fortune the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) had a Dr. Joseph Smith, employed as the Medical Director for the Stateville Correction Center, a very kind and compassionate physician. On his authority, I started my HCV medical treatments with Interferon/Rebetol (Ribivarin), before IDOC officials knew what he was doing. Dr. Smith hospitalized me on July 6, 2000. I began treatments on July 7, 2000. I was placed under a medical hold and my treatments were expensive. I was extremely grateful for the blessing. This disease was killing me.
Within four days, on July 10, 2000, I was summoned from my hospital bed to be interrogated by the IDOC Deputy Director, George DeTella, concerning my treatments. This was followed two days later with an interrogation by Deputy Director District 1, Lamark Carter and Stateville C.C. Warden, Kenneth Briley, concerning my hospitalization for treatment.
These three IDOC officials approached Dr. Joseph Smith and Barbara Miller, the Health Care Unit (HCU) Administrator and tried to convince them to stop my medical treatments by showing them my file. That I was a very bad person, totally undeserving of medical treatment and they should simply wash their hands of me. Dr. Smith and Ms. Miller refused this unethical request and refused to read the proffered file. I remained inside the HCU and my treatments continued.
The minute my HCV medical treatments began to work, clearly shown by blood tests, these three IDOC officials began a series of events which resulted in my transfer to another prison facility on the other side of the State. It was a surprise announcement on December 6, 2000, just five months into my year long HCV medical treatments. Since I was under a medical hold and in the middle of treatments, the Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Smith, called the Warden and the Agency Medical Director, Dr. Willard Elyea, to stop my transfer before the HCV treatments were completed. In a stunning development, Dr. Smith was told to "shut up and sit down, it's an administrative decision" and he had nothing to say in the matter. He was told this in front of me on December 6, 2000.
I was transferred to the Menard Correction Center on December 7, 2000, just five months into my HCV medical treatments. The HCV treatments were working perfectly, as documented in my blood tests.
Within thirty five days of my transfer to Menard C.C., Dr. Adrian Feinerman, the M.C.C. Medical Director, sabotaged my treatments by interruption of the medication schedule and changing the brands of medications in the middle of the treatments. This was done despite the clear medical warnings to never do so. Dr. Feinerman canceled the prescribed medical diet and canceled the prescribed sleeping medications that counter the Interferon induced insomnia. My previously successful HCV medical treatments began to rapidly reverse and fail, until they reached a point where Dr. Feinerman terminated my medical treatments, against my will and without my permission April 26, 2001, two months short of the prescribed course of treatments.
I was left to rot in my prison cell after this, in extreme physical pain, with no medical treatment for the later documented severe stomach/ intestinal infection with the H. Pylori bacteria. Nor were there any treatments to ease the documented side effects stemming from the Hepatitis infection itself.
We are double celled with other prisoners here in Illinois. During this period I received as my cell mate, a man just newly released from the infamous Illinois Death Row. He had a lovely lady from London visiting him, who he later married. She heard about my situation, what had transpired, how I was bedridden in my cell, physically exhausted and drained from both the disease and the chemotherapy. She was horrified at what I had been put through by Dr. Feinerman and the prison HMO group "Health Professionals, Ltd." (HPL). This group is paid almost $7,000,000 per year to provide medical care to the prisoners at the Menard C.C..
She resolved to do something about it out of the deep kindness of her heart, even though she had no experience in fighting this type of state sanctioned medical mistreatment of a prisoner. Mrs. Julie Ehlers launched a letter and Internet campaign, creating a Website for me to call attention to my plight and to seek help from other concerned people to force the IDOC to provide me with proper medical treatment for this deadly liver disease. See http://www.justice4jimmykinslow.homestead.com/index.html.
Another group heard her plea for assistance, called Surviving The System, picked up my story and also printed it on their Website at: http://www.survivingthesystem.com/kinslow jimmy.htm. Another lovely lady responded. C.J.Codega from the group Reaching Beyond The Walls. Along with some others; (LesleY581Aaol.com; Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition). Their aim was to pressure the IDOC and let them know they would NOT be allowed to deny medical treatment to me outside of public scrutiny.
Bowing to the pressure from these people, the IDOC relented and transferred me back to the Stateville C.C. on December 13, 2001, where I could be sent for an evaluation by a proper specialist at the University of Illinois - Chicago, Liver/ Hematology Clinic.
The IDOC and another prison HMO group, ADDUS Healthcare Inc., had by this time hired a new, more compliant and obedient Medical Director at the Stateville C.C.. Dr. Kevin Smith only grudgingly agreed to arrange my outside medical evaluation, delaying three months until March 14, 2002. I was seen by Dr. Wiley, a liver disease specialist. She recommended immediate re treatment with the newly approved PEG Interferon/Rebetol (Ribivarin) and further asked that a pretreatment ultrasound and liver biopsy be performed. Also a CT scan of my entire abdominal area, prior to beginning new treatments.
Dr. Kevin Smith delayed seeing me in connection with the U.I.C. visit and medical recommendations until April 24, 2002. At this time he denied the pre treatment ultrasound, liver biopsy and CT Scan of my abdomen (because of the persistent stomach/intestinal infection I was suffering from, untreated to that point). He grudgingly approved the recommended re treatment with PEG Interferon/REBETOL. Dr. Smith made it clear he was personally offended by the outside pressure I had brought to bear, thanks to my outside help. He said that I would be put on a waiting list to receive the medications when they could get them - that I did not deserve special treatment. Special life threatening treatment was in fact what I was about to endure for the next year and beyond.
They did not have the medications until November. HCV medical treatments with I:IEG Interferon/Rebetol started on November 4, 2002. At the start of the treatments, my HCV viral load levels were over 7,000,000 I U/ml, and Liver Function (AST/ALT) Levels were abnormal, indicating ongoing destruction of liver cells.
The treatments began really great, with a surprisingly mild level of side effects from the chemotherapy (cancer fighting) medication, PEG Interferon. Within eight weeks my liver function levels had stabilized back into normal. My HCV viral load levels had fallen to 53,800 IU/ml. By April 23, 2003, levels had fallen to an amazing 154 IU/ml. I was close to possibly being cured from this terrible and insidious liver/blood disease, having this treacherous virus eliminated from my blood and internal organs.
Then a horrific series of events began to unfold in a malicious and deliberate manner, resulting in the obvious sabotage of the amazingly successful HCV treatments. This required the early termination of the treatments before the virus was completely eliminated, allowing the HCV time to mutate and return in a more virulent, aggressive, destructive form.
This series of events began November 25, 2002, when I requested Nurse Susie Viscum, the RN overseeing my weekly injections of PEG Interferon, call the Medical Director, Dr. Smith. He was supposed to be personally supervising my treatments so I could report severe side effects and/or drug interactions I was having after taking the antihistamine medication Periactin. He had prescribed this for me in response to the severe itching I was experiencing as a side effect of the HCV medications. (Continued as Part 2.)
Freelance writer published on websites and newspapers.