Preventable Inmate Deaths Reported

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A committee which included doctors and correctional officers analyzed the deaths of 381 inmates last year.  It found most of those weren’t preventable.  But the court-appointed man overseeing healthcare in prisons, Robert Sillen, says 18 of them could have been prevented.   The leading cause of death: asthma:

 “You know, the asthma probably is what shocked me the most – I mean, to think that any kind of a quote healthcare system, unquote, could have asthma as a leading cause of death is just unspeakable.”

Other causes of preventable death included hyperthermia, cardiac arrest, and an ulcer.  Sillen says another 48 deaths could possibly been prevented.  Some were a result of delayed diagnosis and poor responses to lab result or ex-rays.   He says the lack of a good medical records system is still a major problem.  A Department of Corrections Spokesperson says they’re not commenting on the report, since healthcare is Sillen’s responsibility.