MILTON BROCKINGTON

by Julian Heicklen

1. Prior History

Milton Brockington CU­4938 is a very sick man. He entered prison with letters from two doctors that had been treating him. He also had very extensive medical records from the Holy Spirit Hospital.

There is a letter of November 9, 1995, from Dr. John Karlavage of the Good Samaritan Clinic saying that he has cared for Brockington for 3 years. Karlavage writes that due to Mr. Brockington's conditions, he (Karlavage) would like to be assured that Brockington is receiving proper medication and is able to use his cane. He further states that Brockington suffers multiple medical problems. He has suffered heart complications in the past due to inability to receive proper medication for his constant high blood pressure. It is essential for his hypertension to be monitored. Mr. Brockington also suffers with back and disc problems. He has suffered stroke and circulatory system complications. The recommended medication is Elavil (for depression), Proventil, Catapress, and a walking cane. Attached to the letter is a 1-1/2 page medical report from Karlavage.

There is a letter dated May 4, 1995, from Dr. Jay K. Miller of the Ambulatory Care Clinic of Susquehanna Health System. Dr. Miller states that Brockington is a patient with several medical problems. He has recurrent exertional chest pain and long-standing hypertension. He currently is controlled on a Catapress patch and other medication. He was examined today and found to have blood in his stool. He is being referred to a gastroenterologist for possible endoscopy; as well as to urology. Miller considers Brockington's cardiology work-up to be fairly urgent. He hopes that incarceration will not interfere with his getting the medical attention that he needs.

2. Current Medical Treatment

Mr. Brockington wrote to me claiming that Medical Services at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Rockview is trying to kill him by withholding his medication, since he is a heart patient. All of his heart medicine and pain pills have been stopped. He already has had one heart attack, because he has not received his medicine. His walking cane also has been taken from him, ostensibly because he threatened to hit someone with it.

3. The Walking Cane

Mr. Brockington is in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU), also known as solitary confinement, presumably because he threatened to hit someone with his cane. Brockington claims that he never said anything about hitting someone with a cane.

In a request of November 27, 1997, to Dr. Everhart, Mr. Brockington requests to see Dr. Everhart about his pain and the use of the cane. Brockington claims that he talked to Deputy Superintendent Terry Whitman. Mr. Whitman sees no problem with using the cane. Brockington threatens court action unless he gets his cane returned. There was no response from Dr. Everhart. Mr. Brockington still is without his cane.

4. The Nose Bleed

On November 13, 1997, Mr. Brockington was calling for a guard, yelling that his nose was bleeding. Several inmates called for a guard. Correctional Officer (CO) Stodart responded and asked Brockington what the problem was. Brockington said that his nose was bleeding for no reason. CO Stodart said that he would report it to Nurse Steve. Nurse Steve was still in the MSRHU (Maximum Security Restricted Housing Unit), because the incident occurred shortly after he made his rounds at 3:30 PM. Nurse Steve never came to check on Mr. Brockington. Nurse Steve returned to MSRHU for his 8:00 PM rounds. When Nurse Steve passed Brockington's cell, Brockington questioned him why he did not come to visit at 3:30 PM. Nurse Steve responded: "As far as I am concerned you can bleed to death, fuck you." Five inmates (Tremel Favors CF­5648, Julius Lee Witherspoon BB­8264, Raymond Ellis BT­5337, Thomas Thompson AY­9375, Lonnie Flagg AY­6745) filed affidavits confirming the incident.

5. The Shower Incident

On November 14, 1997, Mr. Brockington tried to take a shower without any support. He slipped in a puddle of water outside the shower door trying to get a towel outside the door. He fell on his head and was knocked out from this accident. He injured his lower back and the left side of his neck and got a hickey. Nurse Pnoyer came to his aid, checked his blood pressure, heart rate, and hickey, and got a neck brace, because Mr. Brockington was complaining of pain. Nurse Pnoyer put on the neck brace and called for help. When Mr. Brockington revived there were several COs around him. CO Firkey put a blanket over him, because Mr. Brockington did not have any clothes at the time of the accident. CO Rider and an unknown Lieutenant were present. CO Firkey called Lt. Craig to look at Brockington's hickey, remarking that it was a big one.

Three inmates (Tremel Favors CF­5648, Julius Lee Witherspoon BB­8264, and Lonnie Flagg AY­6745) sent affidavits corroborating the fall. Two of these affidavits mentioned that one CO remarked to the nurse on the size of the hickey.

Mr. Brockington had numbness in both legs, dizziness with seeing, headache, and nausea. He was taken to the prison infirmary and seen by Nurse Mickey, who examined him. Nurse Supervisor Margaret Miller was present. Dr. Everhart entered the room. Dr. Everhart questioned Mr. Brockington about the accident. Dr. Everhart then ordered pain medication and a walker, but took the cane. Dr. Everhart removed the neck brace without ordering x-rays or other testing. Nurse Miller and Dr. Everhart went into the hall to talk, but Brockington overheard their conversation. According to Mr. Brockington, Nurse Miller said that we are going to have to cover up the accident by not sending Brockington to a hospital for treatment. Dr. Everhart then said to put Brockington in the infirmary and hope he dies overnight from the head injury.

Later that day, Dr. Everhart and Nurse Steve gave Mr. Brockington a physical exam. At that time, Dr. Everhart questioned Lt. Soletto about the use of a walker in MSRHU. Lt. Soletto responded that whatever Dr. Everhart recommended would be done. Dr. Everhart then ordered Mr. Brockington back to MSRHU.

On November 15, 1997, Mr. Brockington was returned to MSRHU with the aid of a medical walker and was given pain medicine. He used the walker to return to his cell. The walker then was removed by a CO and a lieutenant.

On November 16, 1997, Brockington sent a request to see to Dr. Everhart. He still has pain in his neck, back, head, and both legs. Also the nurse is not giving him ice for his head. He complains that his neck and back are stiff and he needs the neck brace and back brace that Dr. Everhart discontinued. He cannot sleep on his left side of neck or back. It feels as if he pulled a muscle in this area. He appeals for help in dealing with pain. No response was given.

On November 17, 1997, Mr. Brockington did not have a walker to go to the shower. He told CO Rider and CO Firkey about the walker ordered by Dr. Everhart, which had arrived on November 15, 1997.

Mr. Brockington wrote to Dr. Everhart, who then came to MSRHU to talk with Lt. Craig. Someone went to Deputy Superintendent Whitman (it is not clear if it was Craig or Everhart). Mr. Whitman came to Brockington's cell and said that he was not going to allow the walker in MSRHU.

6. Grievances Filed

Mr. Brockington has filed numerous grievances. He filed a Grievance on September 24, 1997. On that date he says that CO Bell took his neck brace and back brace and cane. On September 26, 1997, he was all day without medication. That night he blacked out hitting his head and cutting his eye. A nurse took him to the infirmary. He was suffering from pains in the neck, back, head, and right leg. On September 27, he was seen by Dr. Solomon. No x-rays were taken. On September 28 between 6:30­7:00 PM he saw Dr. Solomon again, who ordered crutches for walking. On September 29, Dr. Solomon ordered neck and back braces and crutches. Doctor Everhart came into the room and said to him "Nigger boy, get up and walk, don't fuck with me. You are trying to suite us. We will kill you first, nigger." Brockington claims he was refused treatment by Nurse Miller and Dr. Everhart. Two officers came and picked him up and carried him out of the infirmary. From September 24­October 2, he has suffered with pain in the neck, back, leg and head. On September 29, Nurse Miller came into his room at about 7:00 AM asked why am I fucking with the nurse and doctor. We are going to kill you nigger if you keep fucking with us. She and Dr. Everhart left the room and said take away his medication and let him die. Nurse Miller said: "Fuck your Mother. Now try to call her you nigger. Brockington alleges that the nurse took all of Dr. Solomon's notes out of his medical record. On October 10, the nurse reports that Dr. Solomon's notes are missing from the file. At some point Brockington claims she said: "So write Judge Williamson. We don't care about a judge's order. Go to the hole nigger. You are trying to take our job. We will let you suffer first." Nurse Miller said that no judge can help you get out of here, you're going to die here if you keep fucking with me, Mr. Brockington. Several times Nurse Steve said we are going to kill you, Mr. Brockington. Nurse Jane said that Nurse Miller is going to change all of Dr. Solomon's notes in the morning. There was no response reported to the Grievance.

There is response from Sam Mazzotta, Grievance Coordinator, on 11­7­97 to Grievance ROC 0619­97 dated October 25, 1997. He reviewed the Grievance with Ms. Ferguson, Nurse Supervisor, who reviewed his medical record. She claims that he was given proper medical care. The physician made the rounds, but Brockington did not offer any complaint. On the next 3 days, Brockington refused the offer of medical services and his medication on 2 of those 3 days. Mazzotta concludes: "You really should rethink your position and be more cooperative with the medical staff as they are working for your best interest."

Sam Mazzotta reviewed Grievance ROC 0656­97 of November 3, 1997. Mr. Mazzotta replied that Nurse Supervisor Ms. Ferguson, says that Brockington is still on cardiac medications. Brockington is advised to be more cooperative with Medical Services as they are working for his good health.

Mr. Brockington sent a request of November 10, 1997, to the Medical Services sick line. He requested to see a doctor about neck pain, back pain, and medication. Also he needs his blood pressure taken every day for his chest pain. He needs his walking cane to get to the shower. He needs to see a doctor about blackouts from time to time. The response was to sign up for sick line when the nurse makes the rounds.

There is a Grievance ROC 0675­97 of November 13, 1997, against Nurse Steve about the nose bleed incident. Sam Mazzotta replied saying that he reviewed the grievance with Nurse Ferguson. She spoke with the nurse involved and reviewed Brockington's medical records. They indicated that he did have a nose bleed and the nurse did assess it properly. Nurse Steve denies making the statements attributed to him.

There was an undated and unnumbered grievance to Sam Mazzotta concerning the shower incident. Mr. Brockington accuses all of the staff and administration of malpractice and wants to file a law suit. He ends the grievance by asking to see the state police.

A 7-page grievance of November 24, 1997, to Mazzotta was returned without action because it was not brief.

A letter of December 3, 1997, to Acting Superintendent Robert W. Meyers is an appeal of Grievance ROC0675­97 about the nose bleed and Nurse Steve.

Another letter of December 3, 1997, to Acting Superintendent Meyers is an appeal of the decision on Grievance ROC0655­97. Brockington appealed the review because he is not receiving proper medical care. All of his pain medication has been discontinued. Dr. Everhart never gave him a physical exam for the blackout of September 26, 1997, and discontinued Dr. Solomon's treatment. He is suffering from pain and no-one cares. The medical staff is trying to kill him by taking his cane, his neck brace, and his back brace. Nurse Steve refused on several days to let him see the doctor. All the nurses refuse to sign him up for sick line. He complained several days about the pain. They said that Dr. Everhart discontinued the medicine. Dr. Everhart ordered a walker for him on November 18, 1997, to use in RHU to go to the shower. However, Dr. Everhart would not authorize its use in general population, so Deputy Superintendent Whitman refused to let Brockington use it in RHU. Brockington requests a transfer to another prison.

7. Humorous Aspect

Strange as it may seem, there is a humorous aspect to Mr. Brockington's troubles. The prison administration wants to transfer Brockington out of RHU and back to general population. However Mr. Brockington refuses to return to general population unless his walking cane is returned. Presumably this is because he has to do less walking in RHU, where he is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. His meals are brought to the cell. In general population, an inmate is required to eat at the dining hall and to report for various activities. In support of his refusal, Brockington mentions that he already has had an accident without his cane. An additional reason (perhaps the main reason) that Mr. Brockington wants to remain in RHU is that he has a gambling debt to another inmate that he cannot pay, and that inmate has threatened to kill him.

Because Brockington refused to obey the order to return to general population, a misconduct report was filed. The Program Review Committee decided that Brockington will be held in disciplinary custody in RHU because the seriousness of his misconduct requires further discipline.