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Medical care in Rikers delayed in thousands, Records show

Brooke Menschel, an attorney with Brooklyn Defender Services, says that organizations have received hundreds of reports over the past few years from people who the Department of Corrections said were denied medical care, but who said they were does not really provide departmental care.

“We have people who have been asking to come to the clinic for months, begging for care,” Ms. Menschel said. “And all of a sudden, the DOC said they were refusing. Logically speaking, that doesn’t really make sense.”

Data released by the department shows that over the past six months, detainees have denied medical care an average of 6,400 times per month. But those with experience providing medical services to detainees say that while denials still occur, the department’s numbers are almost certainly misleading.

Dr Rachael Bedard, former director of the prison system’s Division of Geriatrics and Complex Care Services, says that some denials are most likely misclassified by correctional officers who are responsible responsible for bringing detainees to appointments and by reason of appointments not being made. make.

“Officers will refuse a lot when denial doesn’t happen,” she said.

There are two ways for people incarcerated in city prisons to get medical care: They can ask correctional staff to escort them to the clinic, or call the hotline to Correctional Health Services. According to court documents, the lack of corrections officers forced detainees to use cell phones. But access to phones is often hindered, both by gangs, who sometimes demand forms of payment before providing access, and by corrections officers, who deny people access. incarcerated should have access to medical care as a form of punishment, according to an affidavit from an attorney. Brooklyn Defender Service.

Court documents listed examples of severe delays in treatment, including access to dental care, infrequent treatment of burn injuries, and severe delays in treatment. receiving medication to control chronic illness, including HIV A man reported that, despite being bitten in the face by another detainee, he had not received medical attention for more than a week and a staff member corrections misrepresented that he refused care.

Dr. Bedard, who left Correctional Health Services this month, says care on Rikers Island has been further shaped by ongoing dysfunction at the prison complex.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/nyregion/rikers-island-medical-care.html Medical care in Rikers delayed in thousands, Records show

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