SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's inspector general gave a failing grade to medical care at a fourth prison Monday as the state tries to regain responsibility for health treatment after a decade of federal control.
Valley State Prison in Chowchilla received a failing grade in nine of the 14 benchmarks used by inspectors. Medical records often were missing, misfiled, incomplete or illegible. Medicine often was not provided as needed. Essential supplies and basic equipment were missing from many examination rooms.
Problems included a failure to provide inmates with follow-up care after initial appointments. Some appointments were delayed for months, while others never occurred, inspectors found. Nurses repeatedly failed to carry out doctors' orders, to identify and act on patients' medical problems, or to recognize those with urgent needs.
In one case, a patient who went untreated for low blood sodium for three weeks had a seizure that required life-support measures and sent him to an intensive care unit at an outside hospital.
"Poor care resulted in bad or potentially really bad outcomes," said Steven Fama, an attorney with the Berkeley-based Prison Law Office that represents ill inmates.