PART OF PRISON REFORM SERIES
Nurse Viscum must have been angry at the world because she snapped a refusal to call Dr. Smith so I could speak to him. I asked several times more. Each request was refused. I told Nurse Viscum if she continued to misuse her role as a medical gatekeeper, refusing to relay my serious medical problems to Dr. Smith, I would file an institutional grievance against her. She exploded in anger and ordered me from the HCU under threats of having me walked to segregation and thrown in the "hole". I left and filed the grievance.
The next week I reported to the HCU to receive my weekly injection of PEG Interferon. I discovered Nurse Viscum had refused to reorder my dosage of PEG Interferon. I was unable to receive my injection of PEG Interferon until Thursday, December 5, 2002, four days behind schedule. I asked to speak with the temporary acting Medical Director, Dr. Jovita Anyanwu. Nurse Viscum said he refused to see me. I wanted to discuss any possible medical complications due to this delay in the medication schedule and make sure that I was now on a Thursday weekly injection schedule to receive the PEG Interferon. Nurse Viscum sarcastically replied, "yeah, you're on a Thursday schedule."
Four days later I was summoned to the HCU Monday, December 9, 2002 and ordered to take another full strength injection of PEG Interferon. I refused at first, taking out the "Medication Guidelines" enclosed with the box that the PEG-Interferon came in. It states that I was to NEVER, EVER take more than one single injection per week, and that it is supposed to be taken at the same time and day each week, whenever possible. Nurse Viscum took the "Medication Guidelines" and left the ER, saying she was going to show them to Dr. Anyanwu. She came back in minutes, saying that Dr. Anyanwu said I was to take the injection. It wouldn't hurt me and they wanted me back on a Monday injection schedule for their convenience.
Again I refused, saying I wanted to speak to Dr. Anyanwu in person. Nurse Viscum got on the phone in front of me and called someone she said was Dr. Anyanwu. She hung up and said I either take the injection as ordered, or my medical treatments would be terminated. Under this threat to stop my treatments, and against my better judgment, I submitted. I took the early injection of PEG Interferon which overdosed me.
Big, big mistake. It hit me with the force of a sledgehammer, putting me in a near coma for the next week. It immediately began destroying my red blood cells at a rapid pace. I repeatedly requested to see a doctor over the frightening effects this was having on me. They steadfastly refused to see me. I filed grievances, wrote letters, spoke to officials in person. I was ignored. No doctor or other ADDUS Healthcare staff would see me until Dr. Kevin Smith reluctantly saw me January 9, 2003. His first words were to confront me over naming him in a lawsuit I filed over the first sabotage of my HCV treatments; under Kinslow v. Snyder, Jr., et al., No.01 466 DRH. In a very hostile manner, Dr. Smith refused to listen or treat the lingering, painful drug reaction I had to the Periactin he had prescribed for me. He then dismissed my crashing red blood cell levels and refused to treat with Procrit or Neuprogen to stabilize the red/ white blood cells. He refused to prescribe vitamins or a medical diet recommended in order allowing me to take the Rebetol medications. These improve the absorption and efficiency of the anti viral medication up to 70% ; a very significant improvement which could mean the success or failure of the treatments.
He refused to treat the uncured stomach/intestinal infection I still had. He adamantly refused to send me to the specialist Dr. Wiley at the U.I.C Liver/Hematology Clinic over these medical problems and to generally monitor my treatments like they said they would when I began the HCV treatments. This refusal to provide needed medical treatment for these serious conditions was clearly in retaliation for naming him in a lawsuit and filed grievances.
Between January and May 2003, all my repeated requests to treat my steadily falling red blood cell levels were refused. All my pleas to be sent to an outside specialist were refused. The required medical diet was repeatedly refused, along with any type of effective medical treatments or required diagnostic testing for my continued serious intestinal infection.
On May 4, 2003, the nurses refused to deliver my morning dose of Rebetol and Nurse Viscum later refused to let me go to the HCU to receive my scheduled dose. She falsified the Medication Log by saying I refused my medications. On May 5, 2003, Nurse Viscum again "forgot" to reorder my PEG Interferon from the previous week. My prescribed dosage of 60 mcg. was not available. Dr. Smith, over the phone, had Nurse Viscum order me to take another prisoner's vial of 80 mcg. of PEG-Interferon under the continued threat to stop my medical treatments. This overdosed me again. My treatments were working at eradicating the virus. I gritted my teeth and took the deliberate overdose.
On May 12, 2003, my prescribed dosage of 60 mcg. of PEG Interferon still had not been reordered by the ADDUS Healthcare staff and I was ordered to take another prisoner's vial containing 120 mcg.. While I tried to only take half, it was still too much and overdosed me for the third time.
On May 25, 2003, the nurses (Heather & Sheri) again refused to deliver my morning dose of Rebetol. They refused to let me go to the HCU later to get it and lied by telling the Correctional Staff I had refused my medications. This again interfered with my medication schedule. No Medical Refusal Form exists with my signature. I filed a grievance over this too.
Superintendent Nancy Pounovich called me into her office on May 29, 2003 and asked me to drop my grievance over the refusal to deliver my meds. I refused to drop my grievance. She retaliated the next day on May 30, 2003 by firing me from my cellhouse help job for no reason. She had me locked up in my cell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was given no opportunity to protest this unjust firing, or given a misconduct report.
Between May and June 29, 2003, all needed medical treatments to reverse my rapidly falling blood levels were refused, and all of my requests to be sent to an outside specialist were refused. Then we got a new Medical Director. Dr. P. Ghosh, in response to my grievances and letters, agreed to send me to see an outside specialist, since he said that only a specialist could prescribe the medications Procrit and Neuprogen. I was seen by Dr. Wiley at the U.I.C. Liver/Hematology Clinic on June 30, 2003. The ADDUS Healthcare Staff deliberately failed to send my lab work with me so the specialist could make a medical recommendation. Fortunately, she was able to get the results by telephone, after being refused several times by the Medical Records Supervisor, Karen Reed.
Treatment with the medication Procrit was too late, since the medication takes from 4 8 weeks to stimulate the bone marrow into producing more red blood cells. My current blood levels were so dangerously low I did not have 4 8 weeks to wait for the medication to work. The only option left was for her to recommend the temporary suspension of my medications for 3 6 weeks to allow my blood levels time to rise back into safe levels. Then restart my PEG Interferon/Rebetol HCV treatments. (Continued as Part 3)
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