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Dying Prisoner with Hepatitis C Calls Oregon Out for Denying Medical TreatmentTim King Salem-News.com
Oregon's DOC announced it has no obligation to report prisoner deaths; here's a story about a death in the making.
(SALEM) - We have been contacted by multiple sources over an inmate in the Oregon State Prison, Shawn Michael Martin, who has Hepatitis-C and is being refused medical treatment by doctors with the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC).
According to DOC records, Martin entered custody in March 2008. His health has deteriorated severely in the custody of Oregon prison officials, who he says administer, or fail to administer medication, as a matter of punishment.*
He is dying because he isn't being treated. It is not unavoidable. Advocates leading an awareness campaign over Shawn Martin's predicament, wrote:
Guard on Prisoner Abuse Allegations
These advocates, and other inmates, say this sick man's illness is far from his only problem. In a letter sent to our newsroom, Martin describes having been beaten by a guard by the last name of 'Payne'. In the past we have reported the violent actions of a guard with that same last name, in a case involving another inmate named Clayton Howard.
Martin say the corrections officer's retaliation-based against him took place shortly after he had undergone a medical procedure.
This inmate says guard beatings are routine at Oregon's Snake River Correctional Facility (SRCI) and that the victims are often those who brought complaints against the guards - simple retaliation.
Another thing Martin describes as routine, is the denial of food to prisoners who are out of favor with staff. I believe that the violations of this prisoner when added together, quite literally qualify as "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" under the Eighth Amendment (Amendment VIII) to the United States Constitution; part of the United States Bill of Rights.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment includes:
I do not see how denying both food and medical attention to a chronically ill man is anything less than cruel and unusual; possibly these words are in fact not strong enough to describe acts of this nature, against a prisoner with no possibly alternative.
Mr Martin shared an unexpected piece of information when describing his desperate need for medical treatment for Hepatitis C. He says there is a scourge of this deadly disease in the prison system. He is due for release in 2015 and at the rate he's going with DOC officials in charge of his fate, the odds for his survival and release on that date are not good.
However the fact that he has been living untreated, and that Hep-C is apparently rife in Oregon prisons, paints a picture of a more wide ranging health problem underway and according to the Centers for Disease Control CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases:
I have to wonder what kind of medical staff would allow this type of treatment to take place? Doctors take what is called the 'Hippocratic Oath'. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary describes it as one of the oldest binding documents in history, the Oath written by Hippocrates is still held sacred by physicians: to treat the ill to the best of one's ability, to preserve a patient's privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on.
So it seems the doctor who fails to uphold this sacred oath, is like a poacher in the ranks of hunters, just an illegal space filler with a degree there to lap from the public trough while playing God with people's bodies in the most literal sense.
On December 1, 2011, Mr. Martin wrote about being seen by a doctor whose last name is 'Dewsnup' on the 22nd of November.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Communicable Disease Investigation Reference Manual which is available online:
My readers know I am an open critic of this Oregon corrections system that has its roots of corruption in the murder of its own former Director, Michael Francke, who sought to expose the base corruption more than twenty years ago, and paid with his life for trying to bring change to Oregon. Oh, it looks and seems like a nice state, but Oregon's government has so many members with a hand in the Francke murder that it is literally revolting to consider.
And now years later, through the fog of this penn of historic injustice, we find Mr. Martin, who received a 90-month sentence because his dog bit someone. This could turn out to be a death sentence for Martin if his hepatitis is not treated as soon as possible.
The death penalty because your dog attacked somebody?
And to clarify, I did read about Martin's crime, and what it comes down to, is that two teenage boys were bitten by his dog in his yard. The youths said he called them into his yard and told the dog to attack them, Martin said the boys were bitten while trying to break into his camper when he was not home. At any rate, 90 months? The teens were bitten but it was not a life-threatening attack.
An advocate for Martin wrote, "I think from reading his letter it is clear that not only was he abused by Payne, but that his civil rights are being violated at their most basic level. The inhumane comments made by the doctors in the prison turned my stomach. They admit to 'playing with his life' and threaten to withhold treatment. A threat which they have carried out".
The advocates' plea for Shawn Martin concluded with:
"Human dignity is sacred, even in those less fortunate than ourselves."
* This article originally stated that Mr. Martin's weight had fallen to below 100 pounds. This was a mistake, his weight had not fallen to such a low level, it was a communication error that led to this mistake, it is now corrected.
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