Background: Gary White was a county commissioner in Jefferson County, Alabama. Good friends with Les Siegelman, he introduced Les's brother, [former] Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to Richard Scrushy, a local Republican businessman. Because of this, White became inextricably intertwined with Siegelman, who was one of the biggest targets of the Rove-directed, heavily politicized Department of Justice [DOJ].
Scrushy and Siegelman were later indicted and convicted on charges stemming from that relationship. According to affidavits provided by Gary [and Judy, who was also in the room] White was asked to perjure himself before a Grand Jury in order to make the case against Siegelman and Scrushy. White refused and the very next day, the DOJ started delivering subpoenas to build a case against him. White is serving ten years and is currently in a facility in Montgomery, Alabama. [BOP is Bureau of Prisons.]
This is installment #34. [Links to entire series at end of article*.]
My guest today is frequent OpEdNews contributor, Judy White.
JB: Welcome back to OpEdNews, Judy. This is an anniversary of sorts for you, isn't it? Please tell us about it.
JW: Thank you, Joan. Gary's imprisonment date was September 29th, not an anniversary to be celebrated, but a somber marking of a tragic date and the passing of another year stolen from us. Every minute of every day we live with the absolute knowledge of Gary's innocence, the pain of loss that never ends, and now five years of the most outrageous abuses imaginable.
To make matters even worse - as if that is possible - Gary is now missing. I haven't heard from him since Tuesday, prison "anniversary" day, and he is not at the prison. Rumor has it that he has been hospitalized with some medical crisis.
JB: How nerve-wracking! What do you mean?
JW: Late Tuesday, Gary was summoned and ordered to report Wednesday morning at 5:30 to be taken for testing to determine if he has cancer. I know it's been a while and all the dates and details get muddled so to remind you, the BOP wrote in Gary's prison medical records well over three years ago that they believe he has cancer, then they promptly and persistently did nothing, exhibiting deliberate indifference and committing medical abuse of Gary. Three months ago, when we did the last installment, Gary had begun passing blood and blood clots in his urine, a clear medical emergency for which they refused to provide or obtain appropriate necessary medical attention. After our discussion was published, they then did.... something. In true BOP-fashion, it was bizarre.
Gary was taken to a urologist in Montgomery, accompanied by a thug prison guard. He was so hopeful and relieved, thinking he was finally going to receive the medical attention he has so desperately needed for all these years. But when Gary was called to see the doctor, the doctor was outspokenly irritated - with the prison guard. After looking at the BOP paperwork, he addressed the guard scoldingly, saying (paraphrasing): "There is no authorization for testing, no authorization for a CT scan. I've told you before that I can't assess without testing but you keep bringing them without authorization for testing. How am I supposed to do anything without testing or authorization?" Clearly, the BOP is in the habit of sending prisoners to a doctor while tying the doctor's hands, refusing to authorize medical tests necessary to assess, diagnose and treat medical problems.
JB: That sounds insane.
JW: Keep in mind, Joan, that very few prisoners are taken out of prison to see any doctor. Only the most critically needy ones are taken. Federal prisons have "medical officers" who are supposed to take care of prisoners' medical needs in prison. Only when prisoners become very sick or symptomatic of a critical illness or disease or experience a medical crisis or emergency are they taken from prison to see a "real" doctor and even then, it is a doctor chosen, contracted and controlled by the BOP. And paid by our tax dollars, money that is wasted by taking a patient-prisoner to a doctor while refusing to allow the doctor to perform the very tests necessary to diagnose a patient's medical condition. Obviously, such doctors' findings would go a long way toward proving medical abuse and deliberate indifference by the BOP, IF they were allowed to perform tests. The doctor did do something helpful for Gary, though. He confirmed that the medication the BOP has been giving Gary does, in fact, skew PSA test results, making the result artificially low and hiding cancer, a fact included as a warning on the medication's insert that has been directly denied by the prison medical employees. In fact, the doctor told Gary that with his medical history he should not be taking that medication at all.
With nothing meaningful allowed to be done to address Gary's medical emergency, the prison guard took Gary back to prison. Gary called me immediately and was very upset, his hopes for medical help dashed. When I contacted the regional office to complain, they snappishly told me Gary was, in fact, receiving proper medical care and that he had been taken to a doctor, as if being taken to a doctor does anything at all when they refused to allow the doctor to do anything. It's like being told he isn't hungry, he was just taken to a restaurant while disregarding that he was not allowed to order anything or eat. Totally outrageous and abusive.
Some time later, Gary was taken out of prison again, not to see a doctor but to an imaging facility for tests, the results of which were withheld from Gary until I contacted the imaging facility directly seeking the report and learned the report had been sent to the prison doctor. They refuse to give Gary anything in writing - too dangerous as evidence of medical abuse and deliberate indifference - but after I let Gary know and contacted the prison and regional office, then Gary began to make efforts to get the results, Gary was summoned and told the prison "doctor's" opinion that he did not have cancer. Unfortunately, as we learned, the tests ordered by the prison doctor to be performed by the imaging center do not and cannot assess bladder cancer, which would be a primary concern with blood in his urine. Standard medical protocol is to perform a bladder scope, which Gary pointed out and was told they would begin paperwork to get approval. Have I mentioned medical emergency? If Gary had been taken to the emergency room as he should have as soon as he began passing blood, all the correct tests would have been performed, he would have received a reliable diagnosis and any needed treatment would have been initiated.