Prison Radio
Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ (PDOC) best kept secret from the public, is its dreadful alliance with Wexford Health Corporation in providing lethal sub-standard medical care to prisoners.

Since the PDOC handed its healthcare sector over to Wexford Corporation on a silver platter over 20 years ago, the number one cause of death among prisoners have been medical homicide or illness related deaths, due to sub-standard medical care and health care.

Wexford’s sub-standard medical care puts prisoners’ lives at serious risk every time they come into contact with the prisons’ infirmary. Take the near-death experience of Mr. Stacy Cobb, a Pennsylvania State prisoner, confined at SCI-Rockview in Bellefonte, PA, as an example.

On November 4, 2014, at Rockview State Prison, Mr. Stacy Cobb was called to the prison’s infirmary to have a tooth removed by the dentist. There, Mr. Cobb explained to the resident dentist Dr. Italia, that he was currently on “blood thinner” medication due to his serious health issues and asked whether the blood-thinner medication would present any problems when extracting his tooth. Dr. Italia assured Mr. Cobb that he being on blood-thinners would pose absolutely no risk at all to his health. Mr. Cobb allowed his tooth to be extracted by the dentist.

The next day, Wednesday morning, Mr. Cobb awakened soaked in his blood and with more blood pouring from the hole left in his gum, where his tooth had once been. Mr. Cobb was sent to the prison infirmary, where he was given a “tea bag—yes, a “tea bag”!—to place in his mouth by the resident Physician’s Assistant (P.A.) as medical treatment. Mr. Cobb was then sent back to his assigned prison cell.

On Thursday, again Mr. Cobb awakened in a puddle of his blood and to profuse bleeding from the hole left in his gum. He was sent to the infirmary, given another tea bag to place in his mouth as medical treatment to ease the bleeding, and made to return to his assigned prison cell.

On Friday, Mr. Cobb’s mouth continued to bleed, and again he was sent to the prison infirmary. On this occasion, the dentist Dr. Italia was on call and clumsily stitched Mr. Cobb’s gum closed. Despite the stitches, Mr. Cobb’s mouth continued to bleed profusely.

That Saturday morning, Mr. Cobb was rushed in an emergency to Mt. Nittany Hospital, due to heavy bleeding from his mouth. While at Mt. Nittany Hospital, Mr. Cobb began coughing, swallowing and choking off of his blood. Mr. Cobb was stabilized at the hospital, returned to prison, where he was immediately released from the prison infirmary into the general prison population once again.

Just hours later, Mr. Cobb was rushed in an emergency to Mt. Nittany Hospital a second time, due to complications of the extracted tooth, after becoming extremely sick from the bleeding. Doctors stabilized Mr. Cobb, and after a battery of tests, discovered blood in his stomach and colon. Mr. Cobb remained at Mt. Nittany Hospital for 4 days. The Doctors told Mr. Cobb that he should have been taken off the blood-thinners 3-4 weeks prior to his tooth being extracted, and that he’s fortunate to be alive.

The sub-standard medical care provided by Wexford’s employees, Dr. Italia and the Physician Assistants at the prison infirmary, placed Mr. Cobb’s life at serious risk. Fortunately, Mr. Cobb survived his awful experience, the same cannot be said for the thousands of hapless prisoners in the PDOC who weren’t so lucky to survive Wexford’s Deathcare services.

From the Belly of the Beast, this is Shakaboona.