09/28/2011 05:49 pm ET Updated Nov 28, 2011

Alleged Neglect at Edgefield Federal Prison Causes Inmate to Lose Toes

Originally published on OpEdNews

Background: For first-time readers, Gary White was a county commissioner in Jefferson County, Ala. 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.

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 now serving 10 years in Edgefield Federal Prison in South Carolina.

Hi, Judy, Welcome back to OpEdNews. We haven't spoken for a while. Gary has now been at Edgefield Federal Prison for a year. Can you bring us up to speed, please?

Hi, Joan, and thanks for your interest.

It has been a year of destruction and disillusionment, an unexpected time of revelation, an advanced education in the culture of corruption and the extraordinarily damaged mindset of the employees of Edgefield Federal Prison and, generally, throughout the Federal Bureau of Prisons. With the BOP being a sub-agency of the Department of Justice, and, having experienced first-hand the dishonesty permeating the DOJ and even the judiciary, I must say I am still stunned by our experiences, which are simply bizarre and would be unbelievable, except I have learned there is nothing beyond belief and nothing good, right, or even normal at Edgefield Prison, inspiring some to refer to it as "The Edge" -- fitting for experiences that are "over the edge," an idiom meaning "insane," and "off the edge," into darkness, injury or even death.

While the prison employees seem to have sold their souls for cushy, seemingly untouchable jobs with extraordinary benefits including retirement at age 50, where they are highly paid by taxpayers and protected from accountability by approving and acquiescent superiors going all the way to Washington, the prisoners themselves, vulnerable, used and abused, seem to be the only "good guys." But at The Edge, goodness -- along with kindness, compassion, sympathy and all other traits that are desirable among humans -- is punished severely, with prison officials snuffing out all the light, perhaps hoping their deeds may remain hidden in darkness.

Gary's had a problem with his medications being withheld from the very beginning, if I recall correctly.

Yes, Joan. That's where it all began, both imprisonment and medical abuse. From Gary's first day in prison, Sept. 29, 2010, until now, the prison officials have knowingly and severely harmed Gary through withholding his prescription medications. Even when the damage has been proven by blood tests on April 27 with the test results faxed to the prison the following day, April 28, five months later, and after their own specialist re-prescribed and told the prison medical staff to give him the exact medications he was taking before prison that have been withheld since prison, they have simply refused, and Gary is still without his needed medications.

It's interesting that the BOP's website says, "The Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of sentenced Federal inmates... " This acknowledgement of responsibility, in actual practice, also means they are responsible for withholding and denying care, which seems to be the norm. The "doctor" who is responsible is aptly named "Blocker," so we refer to him as the malpracticing "blocker" of medical care and services. Along with the doctor, there are sadistic prison employees practicing medicine, who are not licensed or regulated by the state of South Carolina and who are mysteriously not shown as being on the federal payroll at all.

Besides being immoral and irresponsible, isn't that kind of behavior illegal? Do you think subsequent prison behavior has been connected to your refusal to shut up about it?

Oh, there has definitely been retaliation, which is also illegal, and, in our case, crosses over to criminal felonious acts by federal prison employees. But let's get back to that in a minute. Because you need to know about Mr. Waters.

Who is he, Judy?

Another abused prisoner. Mr. Waters is a gentleman in his 70s who is diabetic and, as such, is particularly vulnerable to problems with his feet and legs, with the consequences of neglecting such problems well known, and not just within the medical profession. More than two years ago, Mr. Waters developed a toenail infection and sought medical attention and treatment from the prison's medical employees, only to be repeatedly refused. Over a period of two years, Mr. Waters's pleas for help were ignored as his pain and the infection worsened and spread. In August, he was told that his infected condition required the amputation of two toes, and he was taken to the community hospital for surgery. But he was returned later, with his toes intact, explaining that the surgeon had determined that more than "just" two toes would have to be removed to stop the spread of the gangrene that had developed as the result of the extended medical abuse and neglect from which Mr. Waters had been suffering. A few days later, he was again taken to the community hospital, where his toes and a portion of his foot were surgically amputated. Since that time, Mr. Waters has been told that more of his foot will have to be removed, requiring additional surgery, as the initial amputation was insufficient to stop the spread of the deadly gangrene. (From a federal debt perspective, consider the cost of treatment of a toenail infection vs. multiple surgeries and hospitalizations.)

Courtesy of our government, this elderly prisoner is now permanently disfigured. He was confined to a wheelchair, with another prisoner required to push him wherever he goes, being too weak to move his own wheelchair, with 95 percent blockage in three arteries, also known and untreated for more than two years. Shortly after the amputation, Mr. Waters's name was called at mail call. In his absence, the prisoner who pushes his wheelchair stepped up to get his mail for him. The prison employee -- "Evans" -- told the prisoner who was trying to help that he was not called and could not receive the other prisoner's mail. The prisoner explained that Mr. Waters had just had his toes cut off and was not able to come to mail call. Evans responded, "Tell him to put his toes back on and come get his mail if he wants it." Perfectly representative of how federal prison employees treat prisoners in an American federal prison camp -- The Edge.

Yikes! Has Mr. Waters been a squeaky wheel? Has he received this kind of mistreatment because he complained about the system or refused to shut up, like Gary has?

No, I'm sure he hasn't been squeaky. I doubt he is healthy enough to be squeaky, and heaven knows he doesn't have a squeaky wife. He has been mistreated, as so many have, simply because the prison employees can, because no one holds them accountable, even for outrageously criminal actions. Medical care deprivation and abuse, along with the corresponding falsifications of federal records to cover up wrong-doing, are very common at Edgefield, which actively engages in medical experimentation on prisoners. Adding insult to injury, these highly-paid federal employees, including even the licensed doctor who is responsible, receive bonuses. I wonder what the value of toes and a foot are -- what bonuses will be paid to the federal prison employees responsible for refusing medical care and extracting a pound of flesh and bone from Mr. Waters? I know I wouldn't willingly sell my toes or foot, but then, I wouldn't sell my soul either.

This morning, Gary encountered the latest method of blocking prisoners from receiving the medical care for which the BOP is responsible. He went to medical, seeking care for five issues, some of which are needs that have been denied and delayed, with him being directed to return. The prisoners were, for the first time, all locked in and required to remain in the clinic until all of them had been called. When Gary was called, the physician's assistant told him they have imposed a one-need-per-prisoner-per-day limitation, then struck through four issues, directly refusing to address important medical needs Gary has brought to their attention and made known. When he called me later, as he began to tell me what had happened, the telephone mysteriously went dead -- disconnected. I have since verified with the BOP's Washington office that is responsible for medical issues that the newly-imposed limitation is in violation of BOP policies, regulations, and federal law. If ever there was a need for an agency watchdog, the BOP, and Edgefield Prison especially, needs a strong, healthy pitbull with sharp teeth and a loud, commanding bark. Additionally, there are many federal employees at The Edge who can best serve the American people by joining the ranks of the unemployed, with some needing to join the ranks of the imprisoned.

I understand that's not all regarding Mr. Waters. What's the update, Judy?

Yes, Joan. I mentioned Mr. Waters's 95 percent artery blockages. After his surgery, they told Mr. Waters that while he was under anesthesia for the amputation of his toes and part of his foot, THEY WENT AHEAD AND PUT STENTS IN HIS HEART ARTERIES!

One second here. What are you saying?

It is unbelievable, and, of course, he doesn't believe it, either. They are basically saying that without ever discussing anything at all with him about his heart, they performed a procedure for which he was neither informed nor consented. Does this mean the surgeon who did the amputation also did his heart stents? He must be something else, a multifunctional medical specialist, if so. But, not so, really. Mr. Waters expressed doubt and asked for the medical records documenting anything was done about his heart, and... guess what? THEY CAN'T FIND THE RECORDS! Another mysterious disappearance, it seems, of recent medical records, and at the community hospital, this time, not just the prison.

Well, you've left me speechless, Judy. We've often talked about prisoners losing their rights, but this is a new low. Thank you so much for once more providing insight into what goes on at Edgefield Federal Prison. Take care.


For links to other articles in this series, go to original OpEdNews posting.