Medical Negligence in Prisons: What You Need to Know

By Aaron Jophlin

Prisoners have rights. That is a fact that all families of inmates need to realize. According to the Eighth Amendment, prison officials are obligated to provide prisoners with adequate medical care. This principle applies regardless of whether the medical care is provided by governmental employees or by private medical staff under contract with the government.

However, in the state of South Carolina, many inmates are not receiving adequate medical care. In fact, cases of negligence, in which inmates have received detrimental, even life-threatening, medical care, are on the rise. The following are examples of inadequate medical care that cause actionable harm:

  • Serious denials or delay in access to medical personnel
  • Denial of access to appropriately qualified health care personnel
  • Failure to inquire into facts necessary to make a professional judgment
  • Failure to carry out medical orders
  • Reliance on non-medical factors in making treatment decisions
  • Judgment so egregiously bad that it really isn’t medical

One thing that is important to remember is that adequate medical care applies to mental health care, as well, which is governed by the same constitutional standards of deliberate indifference as medical care. Examples of inadequate mental health care include:

  • Lack of adequate mental health screening on intake
  • Failure to follow up with inmate’s known or suspected mental health disorder
  • Failure to provide adequate numbers of qualified mental health staff
  • Housing mentally ill prisoners in segregated or “supermax” units
  • Failure to transfer severely mentally ill inmates to appropriate facilities
  • Improper use of restraints
  • Excessive use of force against mentally ill prisoners
  • Lack of training of custody staff in mental health issues

The most important thing to remember is that ALL inmates have rights as set forth in the Constitution. If you feel those rights have been violated – either your own or a family member’s rights – it is important to contact a reputable medical negligence attorney to seek justice.

Want to learn more?

If you have questions or would like to learn more about medical negligence criteria, please contact a Bell Legal Group attorney for a FREE consultation. We’ll make sure your rights are protected and your voice is heard.

Call (888) 961-5495, or Contact Us Online