Part 5 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Access to Medical and Dental Care

This is the fifth installment of what was contained in the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division report about Cook County Jail. It concentrates on prisoner access to medical and dental care.

Hos about sick call?

Here’s how bad access to medical care is. And, this is from July 25, 2007, six months after Dart was sworn in as sheriff:

One of the investigators brings to the attention (page 56) of the medical staff that a prisoner has “requested medical treatment (several times) for staples and sutures left in his scalp and sutures that had been left in his arm.”

No response from the medical types.

Now get this next sentence:

”He reportedly was placed in lock down for ten days for making repeated requests for medical care. It is inappropriate to punish inmates for requesting medical care.”

Dental care?

One dentist for 9,500 prisoners.

Extractions only (page 57). Twenty-five percent resulted in chronic infections (inflammation/disease of the bone or dry sockets).

The jail has lost its accreditation (page 58) from the National Commission on Correctional Health.

With that loss went the incentive to measure performance of the medical system.

And mental health care?

Not too high on the priority list when budget cutting time comes (page 59).

Tomorrow: Suicide and fire prevention.

Previous stories:

Part 1 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Sheriff Tom Dart’s Goals

Part 2 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – 2007 Complaints of Physical Abuse to Inmates

Part 3 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Causes of and Cures for Physical Abuse

Part 4 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Medical Care

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