Because we wouldn’t want anyone to actually DIE on death row.

This headline from MSN: "Death Row Inmates Denied Healthcare".

According to ACLU attorney Gabriel B. Eber inmates waiting for execution have been denied prompt healthcare and are in danger of–I kid you not–dying while waiting to die. The article cites instances of inmates waiting 45 minutes for help after pushing the emergency call button in their cells, and then another 3 hours for a doctor to arrive. And dental care. Well. Some inmates are opting to have their teeth pulled rather than suffer pain while waiting for complicated procedures.

Really? They don't want to eat soft, body temperature foods like the rest of us who can't afford to get a root canal, or if we can, have to wait months for an appointment? I went into my local community health clinic–they have a sliding fee scale which is reasonable, and some good dentists. I had to wait six months to actually make the appointment, then another three months to actually be seen. The verdict? I need a root canal. Two of them. But they only fill and pull teeth there. I'll have to go to a private dentist for a root canal. Which is fine, you know? But I can't afford a root canal right now, and I don't know if I want to–it will last five to seven years, they tell me IF it takes in the first place. No money-back guarantee if it doesn't. So my question is–why not just save myself thousands of dollars and get it pulled now? The dentist looks at me like I'm nuts. I have him pull one tooth and I live with the other for the last six years. I drink warm water and chew on the other side. Maybe I should call the ACLU.

"The failure of prison officials to adequately respond to the medical emergencies of prisoners, and to ensure proper access to critical medications, is inexplicable and could well result in prisoner deaths," Mr. Eber says.

Are you kidding me?

It isn't that I object to the humane treatment of prisoners. In an ideal world everyone, including the felons (would there be felons in an ideal world?) would have affordable access to timely, quality health and dental care. But this is AMERICA in the 21st century, people. Something like 47 million Americans haven't got any insurance at all, and we certainly don't have emergency call buttons next to our beds. When my father-in-law fell thirty feet onto icy cement, I can't even begin to tell you how long it took the ambulance to arrive. And how much it cost!! If I remember right, that ambulance ride to the hospital a few miles away cost more than his airlifted flight to Harborview on the other side of the state. 

On the same MSN page, another article, about Amber Joy Milbrodt–not a criminal, mind you–in a Texas hospital who waited 19 hours to be seen by a doctor before giving up, going home, and splinting her broken leg herself. (She had it x-rayed elsewhere and it actually was broken.) The hospital charged her $167 dollars for a nurse assessing her vitals while she waited.

A few days before Milbrodt's miserable visit, a 58 year old man died after waiting 19 hours at the same hospital without ever being seen.

Did the convicted felon, who complains of waiting three hours for a house call pay a dime for his healthcare? I highly doubt it! And he was actually seen by a doctor!

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