Last week, more than 120 health care professionals signed an open letter in support of the Five Demands of the hunger strikers. The letter stated, in part:
“As healthcare providers, we are issuing this statement to register our concern with reports that the hunger strikers are being denied appropriate medical care. Where there has been a concerted attempt by the authorities to censor the strikers, and to keep the strike out of the news, dozens of letters from affected strikers at prisons across the state have reached supporters on the outside. These letters repeat similar details of medical neglect and abuse.”
EXCERPTS OF LETTERS FROM HUNGER STRIKERS (Names withheld):
From the Adjustment Center of San Quentin:
“…This is just a small note to let you know I’m still alive. But on Friday morning at around 12:30am they found me on the floor unresponsive & a little blue-ish purple. From what the guys here say, the guards opened the door, I fell out and they jumped on me with a shield, cuffed me and took me out. Then dropped me at the first tier ’cause their hands slipped..
“…What happened?…The nurses said kidney failure. That I was so dehydrated that my kidneys shut down and I was blue-ish purple ’cause I almost froze to death….they put me on IV and warmed up my body with blankets and sent me… back to my cell by 4 am…
“The nurses said…they’ll see me again soon if I don’t start eating. Which I won’t…”
From Corcoran State Prison:
“The doctor asked me how long I’d gone without eating and I told him (at that time)
31 days. I then began explaining about my racing heart and difficulty breathing, and he
said, ‘You’re still hunger striking? I thought you were here for…refeeding… Because you’ve not eaten in over 30 days, you’re high risk, but if you don’t eat, there’s nothing I can do for you. Just sign a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order so you can die!'”
“One doctor told a hunger striker, ‘Unless you’re dying or seriously bleeding, we
can’t do anything for you. Sacramento has ordered us to only provide the most minute
of medical care…”
“Dr. Wang has instructed medical staff here to completely disregard the mass hunger strike, fasting and refeeding policy…so none of the medical or custody staff, anyone, knows what they’re supposed to be doing…”
“A hunger striker with chronic back pain has received pain relievers since 2010. Medical staff stopped it abruptly when he went on hunger strike. When the hunger striker asked for his medication, the doctor just laughed at him…”
“A prisoner had been hospitalized for high blood pressure (225) in June, before
the hunger strike began. But now that he’s on hunger strike, medical staff is doing
no blood pressure checks at all.”
From the SHU (Security Housing Unit) of Pelican Bay:
“…So far I’ve lost over 40 pounds, my energy level is at rock-bottom, and it’s
becoming increasingly more difficult to concentrate. But, my spirit is still soaring with the eagles; and emotionally and mentally, I’m strong and unwavering in my conviction to
follow this through to the end, if necessary. Some of us are ready and willing to take it to the grave…let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that…”
HOW MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS SUM UP THESE HEALTH CARE
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS:
(1) “Medications are being withheld in an attempt to coerce those on strike into
abandoning their protest….
(2) “Prison medical staff are required to monitor the health and weigh those on strike. Yet, we hear that many institutions are violating this protocol…
(3) “…Nurses are required to conduct daily checks (but) are simply advising
strikers to drink a lot of water.
(4) “…Physicians have been dismissive of patient complaints, and patients in
need have been refused care and have been ignored…in some cases, even mocked by the very health care practitioners they are supposed to be able to depend upon for care.
(5) “CDCR refuses to provide (hunger strikers) with liquid sustenance other than water, and guards even confiscate any such liquids that (hunger strikers) had in their cells.
(6) “(Hunger strikers) are not being provided with medical release forms, which they need to send to their loved ones and family members, or to outside supporters, so that these people can access their medical records.
(7) “(Hunger strikers) have been reclassified as ‘not on hunger strike’ because they have been accused of having food in their cells…Determining who is (or is not) on hunger strike (can) mean that prisoners who have not eaten for weeks will be dropped off the list for ‘medical oversight’.”
The health workers condemn such ‘”coercive neglect/abuse as both unethical and illegal under California Penal Code Section 673.” They allege that “such acts of deliberate
indifference to a patient’s serious medical needs constitute a violation under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.”
(For a complete text of Health Care Professionals‘ open letter, please check
A GREETING FROM SITAWA NATAMBU JAMAA
(Sitawa is one of the four Pelican Bay ‘Short Corridor’ Reps of the Hunger Strikers)
” Be mindful that our success will depend on our collective resolve
and determination to put an end to this system of human torture.”
PLEASE PHONE AND/OR EMAIL THESE PRISON OFFICIALS:
1. Receiver, Ca. Correctional Health Care Services:
J. Clarke Kelso: 916-739-7000; email CPRCK@cdcr.ca.gov;
2. CCHCS “Inmate Inquiry Hotline”: 916-691-1404;
3. CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard‘s ‘Hunger Strike Hotline': 916-324-3397;
4. Governor Jerry Brown: 916-445-2841 (for English, press 1, then 6);
5. Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Corcoran Prison:
Jeffrey Wang, MD: phone: 559-992-8800 x6930;
PLEASE SEND THIS MESSAGE: (Always leave a message, even if you just get a
voice mail. Be polite but persistent. Lives of hunger strikers are in the balance.)
^^^ Do not threaten or punish hunger strikers by denying them medical care!
^^^ Demand that all health care workers uphold their codes of medical ethics and
provide highest quality of medical care to all prisoners;
^^^ Demand that Gov. Brown and CDCr Secretary Beard negotiate with the hunger
strikers immediately and meet their five reasonable demands.
^^^ (If you believe that Health Care should be a Human Right for all prisoners,
please let the prison authorities know.)
UPDATES ON THE HUNGER STRIKE:
For daily highlights of the hunger strike, go to
Sign up for daily digests of this historic hunger strike.
- Hunger Strikers, Supporters Refute CDCR Gang Propaganda (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- Hunger Strike – ways to help (colouredjustice.wordpress.com)
- Day 41 of California Hunger Strike: CDCR Still Insists It’s A Gang Power Play (hrexach.wordpress.com)
- Hunger Strike Reaches 40 Days, Health Concerns Critical, Prisoners Hospitalized, Medical Professionals Continue to Speak Out (prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com)
- Hunger Strike – ways to help (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- California Prison Hunger Strikers to Be Force-Fed (solitarywatch.com)
- Hundreds Still on Hunger Strike in California Prisons As Situation Becomes Increasingly Dire, Solitary Watch (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- Day 41 of California Hunger Strike: CDCR Still Insists It’s A Gang Power Play (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- “Man Down!” (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- New Post on Solitary Watch: Day 41 of California Hunger Strike… (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)