Prisoner with severe pre-existing lung condition denied testing and medical care: “It’s outrageous the way they’re treating us”

I’m alright I’m just a little paranoid on how they’re doing things over here. I’m dealing with people testing positive over here so I’m just a little worried because of my health conditions already. The only thing that I’ve noticed that they did so far recently was they took one guy, I’m assuming he tested positive because they he’s the only one that got taken out and they sent him to isolation, I think they said he was in ad-seg, which is the hole, which is usually for disciplinary reasons but most recently when they track somebody testing positive in a pod, which is only two pods away from me, they’re not even quarantining these guys. They just check their temperatures maybe twice a day but they’re not quarantine. There’s no way possible that they’re gonna keep it from spreading throughout this building. There’s two pods on the other side that were quarantine I think last week, not too sure what’s going on with that but I know there’s workers in each of these pods that are coming out so I don’t know what I’m about to do about that but I told my lawyer about it already today this morning so he said he was going to mention a few things to some people he knows but I don’t know.

We’re just tryna figure out what’s going on with our health and our safety, we’re concerned in here. It’s outrageous the way they’re treating us. Not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

I contracted valley fever when I was in Pleasant Valley State Prison in central California in 2015. The way I contracted it I almost died because they didn’t treat me as soon as possible after multiple requests to get tested and seen for that, they just prolonged it, and at the very last minute I was carried in by a couple other inmates and the CO’s told them to go to the infirmary immediately. I lost weight rapidly, I’d say about 30 almost 40 pounds in 5 weeks, I lost feeling in my legs, I couldn’t breathe I couldn’t say more than two or three words without coughing. They say the symptoms are like a common cold so you don’t really know till you have it, then out of nowhere it hits you real hard, and that’s what it did with me. I still have problems from it, throughout my daily activities, I get shortness of breath all the time. Even right now tryna talk on the phone right now I gotta keep breathing real hard. I had a reaction again in 2016 where I got nerve damage from it in the lower back of my right leg. In 2016 my right leg went completely numb again for about 6 weeks until I slowly built strength again. It’s just, at any moment you can have a reaction to it and not know it and it could kill you, it’s a deadly disease, it’s not curable, and it’s disrupting our lives. It doesn’t leave your lungs at all. My oxygen…. I almost died.

So it’s been a couple people, including myself in my pod, requesting to get tested and they just brush us off. They say oh we’re not testing everybody, you don’t show symptoms. Well I have a lung disease basically and I could die immediately maybe within a week or two of contracting Coronavirus. So if they want me to wait to show symptoms it’s gonna be too late.

I was in a different pod at first, then I came over to this one in beginning of March. That was the time when we actually started seeing any type of notifications being put up on the windows for us to see it early in March. We saw it on the news, we saw it on the newspaper and everything but they weren’t telling us anything about it in here. Slowly they put up lil notification signs, you see the deputies walk around with masks on. We asked for masks in the beginning and they denied us masks and said it was only for staff, or they didn’t have as many to pass out. They won’t test anybody if they request a test, you have to show the exact symptoms. They not doing what they supposed to be doing, definitely not. There should be no reason why every single person in here couldn’t get tested, if it’s already been contracted in this building. They disinfected the a pod after they found out someone tested positive in there but they didn’t disinfect any of the other pods. That doesn’t make any sense at all, why would you only disinfect that pod right there when you guys didn’t even know when this guy had it or how long he’s had it, he could’ve been walking around the whole building. So it’s been a couple people, including myself in my pod, requesting to get tested and they just brush us off. They say oh we’re not testing everybody, you don’t show symptoms. Well I have a lung disease basically and I could die immediately maybe within a week or two of contracting Coronavirus. So if they want me to wait to show symptoms it’s gonna be too late.

In the pods, in this building, this is maximum security building so it’s two man cells. The pod I’m in got 18 two man cells. So during pod time, recreational time, we come out 4 hours in the morning, 4 hours at night and all 30 of us are out here together. They hand out a bar of soap maybe once every two or three days. They stopped handing out the disinfectant wipes about 4 days ago. I don’t know why they stopped that. We had to request cleaning supplies numerous times for them to actually start giving it to us every morning but they barely started that two or three days ago. The medical staff they come in with their suits on, with their hazard suits on, but they don’t provide us with anything but a mask that isn’t even similar to the ones that the deputies and medical staff wear. Ours is nothing compared to the ones that they’re wearing. It doesn’t make sense that we have to be treated differently because we’re inmates or whatever.

I put in sick calls in twice. I haven’t been seen for none of them. I requested it verbally to two separate nurses that I wanted to get checked for symptoms I told them that I basically had a lung disease already where most of the time the exact symptoms is same to corona virus, so I told them I could be thinking it’s my lung disease but it could be corona virus and they just tell me that they’ll come back or they’ll notify the doctor and nothing happens. There was one nurse that came back bout an hour later and took down my name and everything and said that he was gonna report that to the doctor but that was two nights ago and I still haven’t seen nobody. I know there are other inmates in my pod that have stated that they want to get tested and show symptoms, to the deputies, and I’ve actually seen deputies laugh and say no you’re not and walk off.

The majority [of people in my pod] is a younger crowd, maybe between 20 and 30. There are at least a handful of seniors, two of which have told me they have health issues, not exactly clear what they have, but they’re concerned as well. There is one guy that is coughing. The nurse came and checked his temperature and everything but that was about it. He still be having a cough and looks kinda sick. He’s staying in his cell, he’s took it upon himself to stay inside.

They have most recently brought in two people [to the pod], one got released within 24 hours, the other guy is still here. He was brought in 5 days ago, maybe.

I just want it to be known that, a lot of the stuff that we have to go through in here as inmates is not even talked about to the community. It’s harsh conditions, you know Santa Rita been put on the news numbers of times throughout the past ten years that I know about, about the conditions and everything. About the way the staff reacts towards us. I myself, I almost died from a deadly incurable disease already from being in prison based on the lack of treatment that I was given. It’s worse here. It concerns me that I’ve already almost died. So if it’s worse here, I don’t understand how they treating us this way. We’re all human beings.

I’m a husband, a father, 4 kids. I’m very family oriented. I try to the best that I can for the people I love. I want to try to come home as soon as possible to my family because I feel that they could do a lot better with me out there than with me in here. I just, I love my family a lot man. Means a lot to me. I wanna be there for my kids when they grow up and I wanna be there for my wife and I wanna be there to take care of my parents, as they’re already old now.

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