20 Aug 08

Women in Prison: From Lifer Renee (Letter 3)

As a teenager, Renee received a sixty-year sentence from a judge in Pima County. Fourteen years into her sentence, she is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona.

July 27, 2008

Hi Shaun,

How are you doing? I hope all is well.

I turned 33 two days ago. I had a nice birthday. I am blessed by the people I have met in here. They are truly wonderful and I am thankful they are in my life.

My friend Marta went to Europe a few years ago. I remember telling her to take me. She said she would if she could. I told her to just take the camera with her. I asked her to take pictures of places and things. She did. She sent them to me. Pictures of beautiful castles, where she born. I love those pictures. She wrote on the back everything for me, so I knew what I was looking at. It seemed so beautiful and fairy tale like always.

This last week has been crazy. There are a lot of ladies here who have seizures. Medical doesn’t really respond.
A spider bit this one girl, Tiffany McNeish, on her foot. She told the officers on every shift. They stated they called Medical and for her to put in a Health Needs Request form.
Four days later she was seen by Medical, who stated they were never advised by staff. They prescribed her two antibiotics and IBU’s. Her first dose of medication she had an allergic reaction and was given allergy tablets.
On July 14 she had two grand mal seizures back to back. She was slobbering, slurring her words, appeared childlike. Her left hand was clenched into a tight fist, unable to move it. The response in her eyes was childlike. She was unable to walk by herself without help. She was walking like a 5’ 5” toddler taking her first steps. There was swelling by her temple. Yet Medical did not respond on the 14th.
On July 15th the nurse came down and said, “The reason the doctor will not give you your medication is because you will be getting out in 2 weeks and we are afraid you will not follow up.” Finally, on July 17, 2008, the CO II working the yard and the day shift sergeant were told once again of Tiffany’s seizures. When Tiffany was taken to Medical, Dr. S. assumed she was, “on drugs and had an overdose reaction,” as stated by Tiffany.
She was taken to the hospital.
Tiffany stated she woke up on 7/19/08 and asked where she was.
Hospital staff told her she was in the hospital and asked her if she did drugs or was assaulted.
She said, “No. I was having seizures.”
The hospital did a CAT scan and determined her jaw was dislocated.
The doctor told Tiffany her MRI was “pretty normal.”
The next day she informed she had a white spot on her brain and they needed to do a spinal tap. She was advised after the spinal tap that the fluid in her spine was not clear and it would take a few days for results.
On the 21st she started physical therapy. Her left arm and leg never went back to normal.
On the 22nd she was brought back to the yard and placed in K-23 (a kitchen that was remodelled to a dorm style housing unit).
She was fitted with a brace for her arm.
She was told by a transportation CO II that she didn’t need her brace.
It is now the 27th and Medical still has not gotten her the brace she needs for her leg.

She is due to be released on Tuesday 7/29/08.
She is not in the physical condition she was in when she came to prison. This is due to Medical’s lack of care.
She is 27 years old and I worry about her. I did not know her until this happened. Me, Terri, and a few of our other friends help her. Terri has helped her do a form of physical therapy. She is able to open her hand somewhat and now is able to place shoes on her feet. Walking is still an extended effort for her, but she attempts it because all Tiffany really wants is to be “normal again.”
All of this saddens my heart. She goes home in two days and is certainly not walking out the way she walked in.

I must close for now. I will write more later. I hope to hear from you soon.



To read Letter 2 from Renee click here.

What happened to Tiffany is just one example of the lack of medical care prevalent throughout America’s prisons. Hopefully, Tiffany has someone outside of prison who can help her file a lawsuit.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2008 Shaun P. Attwood


Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

My son related a story about an inmate who had surgery and was returned to prison with time released pain meds. I guess even knowing that was the case the staff crushed the pills into food so this man was basically given an immediate overdose. It was either endure the pain or take a chance on the meds all in one shot.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Renee!

That's terrible about Tiffany


Anonymous said...

Good eveing

Well, this sounds like bad bad movie, but this is supposed to be real?
I wonder if german/european prisons match those unholy standarts in any way. But it was against the law to leave that woman without medical help, right?
When will things finally change? It' america, a 'first world nation' with prisons equalling those in Asia.
That is horrific and engages my deepest sympathy, even if I'm barly able know how it feels to be in there, imprisoned.

To open ones mind is a small victory - on the long stony road to justice.

Thank you for all the Information.

Have nice day

Andi said...

I can certainly relate, though my case may not be as severe. I entered the system here in Georgia in 2005, and upon intake I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. They blew it off as circiumstantial (which made sense at first), then just heaped a bunch of beta blockers on me (I was only 28) and made me like a zombie. I saw medical off and on for the two years I was in, but all they would do is up the meds, which weren't working. Now out in the real world, my BP stays near stroke level. All this is becuase of a tumor on my Pituitary Gland (near the brain) that has been there for a few years. None of those doctors paid attention to the signs. Now I'm having brain surgery in three weeks to remove the tumor. Truth be known, I'm so glad I'm having the surgery out here in the real world instead of in there. The only thing those doctors do for anyone is downplay symptoms and cover everything up with meds. I hope this young girl can recover and sue. ~Andi

Sue said...

Hi Renee,

I got your letter the day before I went to the UK, and I just got back so will write back this week. Sorry for the delay!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story Renee. That is really sad about Tiffany, I truly cared for her well-being when she was locked up years ago at ADJC. To hear she was still in 2 years ago is terrible, I hope she recovers and doesn't ever go back.

aka MOM