CHICAGO (AP) — A new report by a court-approved medical panel sharply criticizes health care at Illinois prisons, though the state Department of Corrections disputes many of its conclusions. It was filed in Chicago federal court late Tuesday night in a class-action suit against the agency that oversees 49,000 inmates at 25 prison facilities. Here are some of its findings:
— Rudimentary measures to halt the spread of infectious diseases often weren’t taken. That included not washing bed linen from infirmaries in water hot enough to kill pathogens.
— Some terminally ill inmates sign do-not-resuscitate orders but suffer needlessly from the inattention of staff. “‘Do not resuscitate’ does not mean, ‘Do not treat,'” the report says.
— Record keeping is often badly disorganized and incomplete, making it difficult to track prisoners’ medical history and increasing risks of misdiagnoses.
— Unfilled top jobs at some prisons contribute to poor management of medical care.
— Treatment procedures were sometimes out of date. Patients with various lung diseases were sometimes treated, as a matter of course, as if they had asthma.
— Diabetics struggle to maintain blood-sugar levels, in part, due to unusual meals times. Breakfast at Stateville prison starts around 2 a.m. and lunch at 9 a.m.
— Dixon prison inmates were allegedly told they could cite just one ailment per sick call, which the report called “inappropriate and unacceptable.”
— Inmates suffering severe tooth pain sometimes must wait more than four days to see a dentist. The report says 48 hours should be the outer limit they should have to wait.