PA Dept. of Corrections Tells Court It Will Finally Treat Mumia Hep-C infection, But Only Because DOC Neglect has Caused Cirrhosis
As Bret Grote, legal director of the Abolitionist Law Center in Pennsylvania, and Abu-Jamal’s attorney in a case seeking to force the DOC to provide the current Center for Disease Control-recommended medicine that has a 90% cure rate for the disease, said earlier this week, referring to the years of stalling and false information offerd in court that the DOC has engaged, said “In all that time, right down to the present, the DOC has not provided any treatment for Mumia. Whether his active infection is doing further damage -- fibrosis or even cirrhosis of the liver or other damage to him -- we don’t know. But he clearly is at greater and greater risk of serious health damage the longer this non-treatment goes on. (During a hearing last year before Federal District Judge Robert Mariani in Scranton, a DOC doctor testified under cross examination that there was a “63% chance” that Abu-Jamal already had cirrhosis, meaning that his liver is already being irreversibly damaged by the progressive disease.)
Grote told ThisCantBeHappening!, referring to the latest announcement by the DOC that next week it will begin treating Abu-Jamal with the latest FDA approved drug for his Hep-C, "Their arrogance is breathtaking! The only reason they performed the sensitive test that discovered Mumia's cirrhosis was because of his court case . Normally, they testified that they only run that test after they've decided they are going to consider a prisoner for treatment. Remember, they only did the first ultrasound of Mumia's liver after Judge Mariani issued his contempt order, and they only did this latest test after the Third Circuit denied the DOC's request for a stay of that order."
Grote has harsh words for the State of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ non-treatment not just of his client, Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life-sentence without chance of parole for the murder of white police officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia back on Dec. 9, 1981, but of its similar non-treatment of thousands of other state prisoners known to have active cases of Hep-C, which is epidemic in prisons in Pennsylvania and across the country. Grote says that the DOC’s “protocol for treatment, or really of non-treatment" of Hep-C, which states that state-of-the-art medicines are only to be provided if prisoners show evidence of progression of the disease to a point that it has become imminently life threatening (the presence of advanced cirrhosis and esophageal varices), resembles a “Nazi death camp standard of care.”
As Abu-Jamal noted in his taped commentary, that outrageous protocol only came to light during the hearing before Judge Mariani, when an attorney for the DOC mentioned its existence under questioning and then unsuccessfully sought to show it only to the judge, but not Abu-Jamal's attorneys, and to keep it out of the court record -- a request the judge denied.