Texas Inmates with MRSA Staph?Jan 11th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Pretrial Detention
“Punishment for crimes does not mean subjecting people to deadly diseases.” That is from a story you should read if you know anybody who went into a county jail and caught MRSA staph. Or if you know anyone who already had staph and the jail wouldn’t treat their infection. Also, please email email@example.com about any such cases in Texas.
By Mike Carter, Seattle Times staff reporter
Matthew Wisecarver alleges that unsanitary conditions in the jail in May 2007 resulted in his being infected with Methecillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, that required him to be hospitalized after his release.
Wisecarver, 41, who has a history of drug and domestic-violence arrests, is seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class-action.
MRSA is a highly infectious bacteria that does not respond to many commonly used antibiotics.
At least one inmate, Patrick Harrington, died in 2004 as a result of an untreated infection. An autopsy showed MRSA was present in his wounds.
In the year before Harrington died, the reported number of resistant staph infections in the King County jails exploded from 291 to 623, according to Health Department statistics.
The lawsuit follows a U.S. Department of Justice report issued in November which ripped the county jail and Public Health — Seattle and King County for operations at the jail, including its inability to control infectious diseases.
Department of Justice investigators pointed out that a key component to preventing the disease is good hygiene, but said it is lacking in the downtown King County Jail. For example, the Justice Department pointed out that inmates are given a single pair of underwear during their entire jail stay, which they are responsible for washing themselves.
The department concluded that inmate health care falls “below the constitutionally required standards.”
Jail officials concede that infections occur, and have said in the past they have been working on protocols to prevent and treat it.
The Health Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wisecarver’s lawsuit.
Eric Heipt, one of Wisecarver’s attorneys, said that when the government uses its power to take someone’s freedom, the Constitution requires “minimally acceptable conditions of confinement.
“Punishment for crimes does not mean subjecting people to deadly diseases,” he said.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org