An Illinois doctor has come under fire from legal officials after claims surfaced about the poor provision of care in the state's hospitals. The physician is accused of medical malpractice surrounding a variety of cases at the Stateville Prison near Joliet.
The most notable case currently under consideration against the doctor involves an inmate who is serving a 25-year murder sentence. The prisoner complained of severe medical conditions throughout a two-year period, which included vomiting blood, severe back pain and abdominal pain. Records show that the physician had told medical assistants to administer pain medication and ignore the inmate's other complaints because too much money had already been allocated to the man's care.
The physician argued that the prisoner might have been complaining about side-effects of an earlier back surgery, and the prison was not responsible for providing care related to that problem. The inmate's suffering was compounded by the fact that prison officials failed to question the physician's decision, simply accepting his claims without review.
The judge in the case has loudly denounced the physician's actions, calling him callous and unprofessional. In addition to this case, the physician faces a variety of other malpractice claims that could result in the loss of his medical license. The judge has also expressed discontent with the prison officials who mechanically filled out medical request forms instead of delivering adequate standards of care.
Although the inmate may have been convicted of serious crimes, convictions do not justify withholding medical care in times of need. The physician in this case allowed his personal prejudices to inhibit his ability to provide care, which is not only unethical but illegal.
When a doctor or hospital knowingly provides substandard care or puts patients in harm's way, the victims of this negligence can face devastating consequences. Dangerous doctors and hospitals should be held responsible for this neglect.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Judge slams 'callous conduct' of doctor at Stateville prison," Steve Schmadeke, Feb. 1, 2012