Can you imagine being in such intense pain that chewing off your fingers actually helps you cope? That’s what allegedly happened to a paralyzed Arizona inmate, who was not identified in recently filed court papers.
In those documents, the prisoner stated that he was experiencing excruciating pain from prior injuries, but authorities did not give him proper pain medication. Chewing off three fingers from his left hand was his way of managing the constant torment inside him.
In the court documents, the man reportedly said he would rather commit suicide than live with the unendurable pain.
Who was in charge of providing healthcare services at this Arizona state prison? Corizon Correctional Healthcare, a for-profit prison healthcare management company with a troubling history.
Inmate Finds Lump in Breast – Corizon Refuses Mammogram
In another case, an inmate discovered a lump in her breast. A sister had already died from breast cancer, but Corizon allegedly refused to allow the inmate to undergo a mammography to confirm the presence and nature of the lump because the woman was only 37 years old.
Although the woman eventually was diagnosed with cancer and began receiving chemotherapy, Corizon refused to give her pain medication, other than Aleve.
Something is Eating My Brain
In Kansas, inmate Marque Davis, 27, complained to Hutchinson Correctional Facility doctors – employed by Corizon - that “something is eating my brain.” Doctors allegedly ignored his complaints, even though Davis’ behavior became more and more bizarre.
A surveillance camera caught him drinking his urine from the urinal in his isolation cell, along with constant, repetitive behaviors. A few days later, he was dead, taken off life support after going into cardiac arrest.
Brain imaging performed after his death revealed Davis had a fungal infection throughout his brain, which had caused the upper section to collapse into the lower section.
The lawsuit filed against the facility and Corizon states that doctors’ ignoring Davis’ symptoms caused him to suffer a “staggeringly slow, physically and mentally excruciating death.”
Inmates submitted statements saying they overheard doctors and nurses labeling Davis as someone who was faking symptoms - symptoms that included substantial weight loss, the inability to walk, shaking arms, slurred speech and urinating and defecating on himself.
Hundreds of Lawsuits in Five Years, Including a Record Breaker
For Corizon, stories of a man chewing off his fingers or a woman refused a mammography are just another day at the office. Over five years, approximately 660 malpractice lawsuits have been filed against the company.
Currently, Corizon provides healthcare services – or doesn’t provide them, as the case may be - to inmates in 29 states. Corizon is accused of boosting its bottom line by providing as little in the way of high-cost care as possible.
In 2015, the company agreed to pay $8.3 million, along with California’s Alameda County, to the family of an inmate beaten and tasered to death in jail. At the time, the inmate was going through delirium tremens from alcohol withdrawal. It’s the largest such settlement ever paid.
The millions of dollars Corizon has paid in settlements over the past few years may have affected its $1.4 billion annual income. Because of its reputation, the company has lost several state contracts, although Corizon claims the losses were due to the bidding process.
One such loss, that of New York City’s Riker’s Island Prison, had nothing to do with a bidding process.
Riker’s officials ended the contract with Corizon after 15 years once it was discovered that the company hired doctors and mental health workers with criminal convictions.
These weren’t misdemeanors – some of the Corizon healthcare providers had been convicted of murder or kidnapping.
One mentally ill inmate died after being locked in a cell for six days, naked and covered in feces. The diabetic inmate had been deprived of insulin and then locked in the cell, which had no running water.
Over that six- day period, the inmate, Bradley Ballard, was not left alone by prison and Corizon officials.
In fact, a total of 57 visits were made by various personnel to Ballard’s cell in that period, but no one did anything to help him.
This lack of response to inmates in dire – and obvious – need is typical of accusations made against Corizon in lawsuits. A man chewing off his fingers is the latest example, but odds are it’s far from the last.
Are you a Corizon victim? At Jail Death and Injury Law we can help. We have several ongoing investigations into Corizon’s medical neglect of inmates. Call US 866.836.4684 or Connect Online