Three months after Anthony Michael Cobb, 48, was arrested on an attempted murder charge and placed in Pennsylvania’s Franklin County Jail, he began passing blood in his urine.
He immediately asked for medical help, but none was forthcoming.
Harrisburg-based PrimeCare Medical provides both “partial (without nursing) and comprehensive medical services to correctional facilities throughout the Northeastern United States,” according to its website. The county has a $1.75 million contract with the company to provide health services for inmates.
Over a period of seven months, PrimeCare changed Cobb’s diagnosis from a urinary tract infection to chlamydia to kidney stones. An X-ray ruled out kidney stones, but further tests were not done. In reality, Cobb had kidney cancer.
A family friend of Cobb’s, who is a nurse, recognized that he had something seriously wrong with him. Through her efforts and that of a nurse at the facility, Cobb was given an MRI and CAT scan. When he was finally diagnosed properly, the kidney was removed, and a tumor the size of a golf ball was found.
The surgeon told Cobb that the tumor was close to breaching the kidney wall. If that happened, Cobb would be dead within a year. The cancer had already progressed to stage 2 but had it been discovered earlier it may have been only a stage 1 malignancy with a better prognosis and less intensive treatment needed.
On July 31, 2018, Cobb filed a lawsuit against the jail and PrimeCare. He wrote the complaint himself and sought $1.8 million in damages.
Cancer, Not Psoriasis – Prison Healthcare Providers Miss Cancer Often
Cobb is far from the only inmate whose cancer wasn’t caught by prison healthcare providers.
Wayne World, 39, was incarcerated in Connecticut’s Osborn Correctional Facility for manslaughter. When he developed clusters of scaly plaques all over his body, medical personnel at the facility diagnosed him with psoriasis. It took three years, a steadily declining condition and World’s begging for a biopsy before a true diagnosis of skin cancer, or subcutaneous lymphoma, was made.
He only received his initial biopsy in 2015 because a deputy warden saw World in his bunk covered in bloody sheets. While he eventually received chemotherapy and radiation treatment, it later turned out that his cancer was far more aggressive than doctors initially thought. He also received a stem cell and bone marrow transplant.
On August 20, 2018, World received a $1.3 million settlement from the state of Connecticut for medical neglect. He was released from prison early because of his deteriorating health. World recently had a second bone marrow transplant to battle his cancer and is receiving aggressive chemotherapy.
At this point, his prognosis is uncertain. Because of a low white blood cell count, he must remain relatively isolated to avoid exposure to pathogens.
Lawyers say many other inmates or their families are claiming they had also been denied necessary medical care. What happened to World was the worst sort of correctional medical services recklessness.
At the time of World’s incarceration, the UConn Health’s Correctional Managed Health Care was overseeing medical care through a contract with the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC). Since then, the DOC has ended the contract because of many complaints about care quality.
In late July 2018, a lawsuit was filed by the mother of a 19-year-old inmate who died of an untreated lung infection.
A class-action lawsuit on behalf of inmates diagnosed with hepatitis C who were refused life-saving treatment.
In another incident, a pregnant woman at Connecticut’s only prison for women gave birth alone in her cell, with no guards checking on her condition or coming to her aid.
Are you or a family member a victim of medical neglect in jail or prison in CT, PA or elsewhere? We file federal lawsuits for victims to expose and stop the medical misconduct and get full monetary compensation for victims and their families. Call US 866.836.4684 or Connect Online for a no-cost legal consultation to learn your rights.