Dying Inmate's Diary Reveals Lack of Medical Care

He had cancer but was only given Tylenol
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2017 3:45 AM CST
Inmate Dying of Cancer Said He Was Only Given Tylenol
Cells at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.   (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

A Vermont inmate who died of cancer at a Pennsylvania prison wrote in a diary that he repeatedly asked for medical care but was denied and given ibuprofen and Tylenol for his pain. Sixty-eight-year-old Roger Brown died Oct. 15 at the state prison in Camp Hill, Penn. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is reviewing the death. The Vermont Department of Corrections will do the same. In a diary obtained by the AP, Brown wrote about burning pain in his rib cage, back, and hip that prevented him from sleeping and became unbearable. A Pennsylvania corrections spokeswoman says the department provides "the level of care needed no matter the inmate, no matter their condition."

Vermont Public Radio has entries from Brown's diary, including this one, from Sept. 23: "Saturday. Awake all night again. Back pain real bad. Breakfast, lunch, waiting for yard. Agony still. So much ibuprofen starting to scare me, not taking care of the pain. Supper." It notes that there's nothing in the diary to suggest Brown was ever aware he had cancer. His roommate began writing in the diary in early October: "Roger continues to go downhill. I'm frantic. I can't get the staff to do anything." (This is another graphic look at prison health care.)

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