End Medical Neglect: Interview with Shorty Mac

Interview with Shorty Mac

As part of our ongoing efforts to document the harms of medical care in Massachusetts jails and prisons, we’re collecting stories from people who have survived Wellpath’s care.

One of our members interviewed Shorty Mac, who is incarcerated at MCI-Norfolk, about his experiences with Wellpath. Below is a transcript of this interview. Shorty is 70 years old and has suffered unnecessarily because of Wellpath’s negligence.

Shorty: “I’ve been in pain for more than two years. I’ve been diagnosed with a kidney stone and it was just two weeks ago that I was scheduled to see a urologist.

“At first, the Wellpath provider gave me Naproxen for the pain and this didn’t help at all. Then they gave me Neurontin. This helped, but the side effects have been that I’m tired all of the time and I’m shaking a great deal.

“I also have a heart condition, cardiomyopathy, and hypertension. Sometimes I have shortness of breath due to this condition. But it’s the buildup of fluid in my legs and feet that’s the worse. Sometimes they are swollen so bad and the pain is so bad I can’t even walk.

“These Wellpath providers changed my heart medication without talking to my cardiologist. To this day, I still don’t know what I was given. An officer had to tell the nurse on call that I didn’t look so good, and I was taken to an outside hospital. On top of all of this, I contracted Covid and had to be put on oxygen.

“Even though I had plenty of people listed on my emergency contact list, Wellpath did not contact my family or my sister. One of my friends on the inside had to contact my people to tell them what was happening.

“If it were not for my sister and my lawyer advocating for my treatment, I wouldn’t be alive today. Wellpath doesn’t care about me.”

Interviewer: “What makes you think that the care Wellpath provides is so bad?”

Shorty: “Come on man! I was dying, I had Covid and they took me to Milford Hospital in Milford, MA. Those people were the kindest, most professional doctors and nurses I had ever met. They talked to me about my treatment and what they were going to do. The difference between the medical care I received there and what I’ve received from Wellpath was as clear as night and day. It felt like the medical people at Milford cared about me.”

Interviewer: “What would you like to see done as far as solutions concerning your healthcare?”

Shorty: “Three major changes need to be made.

“First, Wellpath should not be allowed to change medication without consulting your primary care doctor. This procedure is dangerous.

“Second, there’s no continuity to one’s treatment. In most cases, we are required to see a nurse practitioner at Wellpath before seeing a doctor. If the nurse practitioner leaves Wellpath, there is no follow up to what they recommended. The turnover rate for providers is frequent- it seems like every three to five months there’s a new nurse practitioner!

“Third, it is so difficult to get our prescriptions refilled. I need certain medications for my hypertension and heart condition, and if I don’t have these prescription filled on time, I’m in trouble. I can’t count on Wellpath to even provide this basic service.

“Look, the medical care is very, very poor. The only way to change it completely is to get rid of Wellpath. The don’t care about us. Their bottom line is to profit off of us – not to care about us.”