Because incarcerated individuals cannot seek their own medical treatment, it is up to prison staff to ensure that injured or ill inmates get the care they need. Inmates have a right to adequate medical treatment. It is unlawful for prison staff to deny it. If an inmate doesn’t receive the treatment they require within a reasonable time, including treatment for mental illness, the consequences could be serious and, in the worst-case scenario, fatal.
At The Zeiger Firm, we advocate for the rights of prison inmates and their families. We’re here to protect their civil rights and seek justice for inmates who have wrongly been denied medical care. If you are the spouse or family member of an inmate whose constitutional rights have been violated, contact us for a free consultation today.
What Are an Inmate’s Rights to Medical Care?
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ policy states that every inmate is entitled to healthcare services, including:
- Physical exams
- Corrective eyewear
- Dental services
- Medical management for inmates with a terminal illness
- Management of pregnant inmates
- Treatment for communicable diseases and infection control
All inmates have a right to receive any medically necessary care, emergency services, in-patient and out-patient care, specialty services and consultations, and chronic illness management. Inmates are also entitled to request a sick call.
Consequences for Lack of Care
When patients, wherever they reside, do not receive the medical care they need, they can suffer as a result. Lack of care can result in serious medical conditions going undiagnosed and inmates left without the treatment they need. Inadequate medical care can also result in a misdiagnosis and subject patients to treatments they do not need. When inmates suffer new damage stemming from inadequate medical care, The Zeiger Firm can help you demand the justice and financial accountability you deserve.
What Can You Do If an Inmate Is Not Receiving Care?
Although prisons are legally required to provide medical care, inmates often won’t receive care without first requesting it. If your loved one is not receiving the healthcare they need, there are several steps you can take to ensure that they get the treatment they are entitled to, including:
- Reach out to prison staff by phone if possible
- If the prison allows inmates to bring their own prescriptions (which varies depending on the jail medication policy), you should take the medication and your loved one’s medical records to the prison where they are incarcerated.
- Depending on the facility’s policy, your family member might be able to see their psychiatrist while in prison if they have one. If your loved one is experiencing thoughts of suicide, you should alert the facility so that your family member can be placed on suicide watch.
If you believe that your loved one is being deliberately mistreated while incarcerated (i.e., that medical care is being withheld or officers are acting with deliberate indifference toward your family member), you should consider filing a formal complaint with the prison. Doing this in person may be the most effective route if you cannot reach the facility by phone.
You can also take additional steps to rectify the situation and enforce your loved one’s rights, including contacting the Department of Corrections or the Governor’s Office.
Filing a Civil Suit While Incarcerated
If you are wondering what to do if an inmate is being mistreated, you have come to the right place. Experienced Philadelphia civil rights lawyer Brian Zeiger knows how to get injured clients the compensation to which they are entitled. Suing a county jail for medical negligence can be a challenging process. If your loved one has not received sufficient healthcare treatment as an inmate, we could help you enforce their rights.
First, we recommend ensuring that the facility is aware of your loved one’s condition and be sure to get it confirmed in writing. The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your case will be. Requests for medical care, complaints filed by your family member, and any other medical records could all be helpful.
Next, we recommend contacting a Pennsylvania prison rights lawyer at The Zeiger Firm to get started on your case. If your loved one was denied crucial medical care in a prison facility in Pennsylvania, our team is ready to demand justice on their behalf.
Contact The Zeiger Firm Today
The Zeiger Firm has long fought for inmate rights to medical care, and we are committed to helping your loved one get the treatment they require. If your family member is being mistreated or medical care is being withheld while in prison, we can take legal action to resolve the situation. Reach out to our office for a consultation right away.