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Rules on inmates' care need review


POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 02, 2013

~~<p>State prisons are required by the U.S. Constitution to provide adequate medical care to inmates, but a recent case has fueled questions about whether Hawaii has fulfilled that role. A medical claims panel's recommendation backing an inmate who nearly died because of alleged malpractice should prompt an examination of the state prisons' medical response procedures and improvements in policy, as needed.</p>
<p>Dr. Steven DeWitt, the former medical director at Halawa Correctional Facility, testified in an October 2011 parole hearing that he had never seen an abdominal disorder like that of inmate Thomas Lauro &quot;because it doesn't happen to people given appropriate care.&quot; DeWitt, who died a year ago, said Lauro would &quot;pay a big price&quot; living with the consequences and the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) also would &quot;pay a big price.&quot; Indeed, the state Medical Claims Conciliation Panel recommended that the state pay Lauro $5 million in compensation for ignoring symptoms that led to deterioration of a pre-existing gastrointestinal disease, which eventually led to colon removal.</p>
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State prisons are required by the U.S. Constitution to provide adequate medical care to inmates, but a recent case has fueled questions about whether Hawaii has fulfilled that role. A medical claims panel's recommendation backing an inmate who nearly died because of alleged malpractice should prompt an examination of the state prisons' medical response procedures and improvements in policy, as needed.

Dr. Steven DeWitt, the former medical director at Halawa Correctional Facility, testified in an October 2011 parole hearing that he had never seen an abdominal disorder like that of inmate Thomas Lauro "because it doesn't happen to people given appropriate care." DeWitt, who died a year ago, said Lauro would "pay a big price" living with the consequences and the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) also would "pay a big price." Indeed, the state Medical Claims Conciliation Panel recommended that the state pay Lauro $5 million in compensation for ignoring symptoms that led to deterioration of a pre-existing gastrointestinal disease, which eventually led to colon removal. Login for more...



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