To the DOC and the Governor of Massachusetts –
Since September 2020, I have been documenting the quality of care given by the company with whom you have a contract, Wellpath.
My loved one inside suffers from chronic coronary heart disease which makes him prone to major heart attacks and has resulted in seven coronary stents. His first heart attack was on January 1, 2020, with his second following eight months later on September 17, 2020 – while he was on his way to Essex County Sheriff’s department. He was taken to Beverly Hospital and given four coronary stents by a cardiologist. He stayed in the hospital for a week before the COs took him to Middleton Jail, when our nightmare experience with Wellpath healthcare first began.
Upon arrival, his medical treatment plan from the cardiologist at Beverly Hospital was given to Wellpath staff. However, after the routine medical intake, my loved one was sent to his block without his prescribed Lisinopril medication for six weeks. Lisinopril is meant to treat high blood pressure, prevent heart failure, and can also reduce the risk of death after a heart attack. Due to the complicated system of authorizing communication with incarcerated people, I was unable to get ahold of my loved one during this time, and he was constantly asking staff for his medication. Wellpath simply responded that it wasn’t in the medical plan. As soon as I got in touch and heard what was happening, I immediately advocated on his behalf, contacting the superintendent and Wellpath admin to demand they provide his medication. This was the first of many instances where I had to get involved to demand the bare minimum of care for my loved one.
In addition to withholding his life-saving prescription, Wellpath’s medication refill process is unreliable and lacks accountability. For instance, my loved one stopped receiving a certain medication because it was “on another slip.” Forced to contact his cardiologist myself to receive his full medication regimen, I provided his prescription to Wellpath. Shouldn’t medical staff be proactively acting in the care of their patients and facilitating their access to medication?
On top of this, numerous incidents of Wellpath negligence concerning my loved one have occurred – and I have it all documented. In one instance, my loved one was experiencing chest pains and the CO refused to call the infirmary until his cellmate began to advocate for him. It took a whole half hour before the infirmary was notified, resulting from my calling the superintendent and the Danvers State Police to demand a well-being check. The sergeant informed me that they weren’t able to perform the check and advised me to call the Attorney General’s Office. I called the following day and sent an email to the complaint line. Once again, due to my advocacy, my loved one was finally able to be seen. He was transported to the hospital for observation and treated for angina, a condition which can lead to chest pain (as documented by his doctor) and most likely stemmed from his lack of medication for those six weeks.
Beyond their failure to supply vital medication and blatant medical negligence, Wellpath’s inhumane treatment of people who are incarcerated is part of their culture. During the initial year of Covid-19, my loved one was experiencing vomiting, fever, body aches, chills, diarrhea, trouble breathing, headaches, fatigue, and a heavy feeling in his chest. Although he explained his symptoms to the COs, my loved one was completely ignored. I, once again, called the superintendent to demand proper care and contacted his cardiologist who reached out to Wellpath with concerns for his health. Only after these extreme measures of outside advocacy, my loved one was finally taken to the infirmary, where he was given IV fluids and a Covid test that turned out positive. The cardiologist emailed the infirmary asking why my loved one wasn’t given a chest x-ray or taken to the hospital since he had a history of chronic heart disease and had pneumonia in the past. Following the doctor’s orders, Wellpath staff gave him a chest x-ray (and never provided us the results) and a voldyne-volumetric to expand his lungs, even though I had requested breathing treatments. This experience demonstrates how the whole system is guilty through its combination of callous COs, ignorance of previous medical history by Wellpath providers, and delayed treatment – and this must be exposed to the public.
Indeed, the correction system is corrupt. In another incident, my loved one was brutally attacked by other inmates while in plain sight of COs, leaving him with a broken shoulder and nose. This was not an isolated case; the same two inmates were involved in a few other fights, making this the main result of classification not fulfilling their job description correctly. After the incident, the Beverly Hospital treating physician in the ER recommended that my loved one visit an orthopedic surgeon within seven days. It took Wellpath three weeks to schedule a visit to Shattuck Hospital – also known to many as a butcher shop – and the revisit took months. Similarly, optometry, dental, and cardiologist visits were delayed and never scheduled regularly, or as advised. Follow-up appointments after the incident did not occur and the PT advised by the surgeon was ignored.
The list goes on… I could write a book on the negligence of Well-path and the DOC. All parties involved must be terminated and all medical stuff must lose their license to practice. No more Wellpath, no more corruption.
Your watchful eye