Texas Inmates with MRSA Staph?

Jan 11th, 2012 | By | 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 info@texasjailproject.org  about any   such cases in Texas.

Seattle Times – Federal Lawsuit

By Mike Carter, Seattle Times staff reporter

 A former King County Jail inmate has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the King County Jail after he contracted an antibiotic-resistant infection while behind bars.

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 mcarter@seattletimes.com

6 Comments to “Texas Inmates with MRSA Staph?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    My husband is in federal prison at Texarkana. He has been there less than six months and has had staph infection twice. I don’t think they are doing cultures to find out what he has as the antibiotics don’t work. Every time he gets off them….he gets sick again and feels worse. Is there anything I can do from out here to try and get him better care?

    • admin says:

      Answering you with a loved one in the Texarkana federal prison: This is a tough one because it’s the feds. We work on county jails and TIFA (Texas Inmate Families Association) and Texas CURE work on state prisons, but they may have some suggestions. They both have websites.

      If it were me, I would Google: “Who do I complain to about medical care in a federal prison?” And also use Google to find the federal prison website for that prison and write the warden a letter!
      I hope that helps a little!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had a small cut when put into nueces county jail. It turned into a bad infection overnight. the nurse looked at it and put neosporin and a bandaid. she said to have the doctor look at it immediately the next morning, as it was a boil or staph infection. the next morning came and i told the jailer, several jailers actually, what the nurse had told me. I was not allowed to see the doctor, was not allowed a new bandaid, and was yelled at to quit asking about it. I asked over the next 2 days repetedly to several different guards, and a seargent or two. The staph infection was never treated, no neosporin or antibiotic. i kept the same bandaid 4 days. each day it got twice as bad. I was not even given a hygine kit, and could not shower. I was only in there sun, mon, tues, and wed. I was released today. I am going to the ER in the morning to have it taken care of. my arm is killing me and my skin is black, yellow, red. What can i do about this? any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      Yes, we have suggestions and I am glad you wrote about this. This is such a dangerous jail when it comes to medical care. Will be writing you at the email address you sent separately.

  3. Chris says:

    Hi, I’m writing because I was just made aware that my father has contracted a staph infection from a jail in Hunt County Texas. I am unaware if they are giving him the proper medical attention as they are not allowing him to make any phone calls while in solitary confinement for the infection. Do you have any suggestions on what I could do? Or if you know if this is protocol? Thank you so much!

  4. blue says:

    I did 67 days in harris county jail in Houston texas and I contracted mrsa a few week ago luckily after 4 dayz of no improvement they sent me to the hospital for 2 and a half dayz…There were 2 other ppl with staph in my tank the clothes towels blankets and sheets aren’t suffiently cleaned they smell disgusting…

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