JEROME HARRIS

by Julian Heicklen

Jerome A. Harris AF-3382 was transferred from the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Camp Hill to SCI Rockview on October 14, 1997. According to Harris, Camp hill has the best medical staff in the state of Pennsylvania. Harris is a 67-year old man with several serious medical conditions. At SCI Camp Hill, he was taking Ambien, a new sleeping pill. He had been taking Ambien for over a year to help him sleep at night.

At SCI Rockview, Mr. Harris saw Dr. Everhart, Director of Medical Services, who said that SCI Rockview does not carry Ambien. Dr. Everhart said that he was going to put Harris on an estrogen plan. He prescribed EstrogenÐPremarin. Mr. Harris told Dr. Everhart that a Dr. Young at SCI Camp Hill told Harris that he had a hernia. Dr. Everhart said that Rockview would not perform an operation for that. Nurse Karen was present during these discussions. Harris was referred to see the psychiatrist (Dr. Burke), which he did 10 days and 5 Request slips later. Dr. Burke, the psychiatrist, interviewed Harris, and wrote that the problem was strictly medical and not psychiatric.

Since then Mr. Harris had been trying to see Dr. Everhart to no avail. Physician's Assistant Miss Kate and the nurse, Miss Kellie said that they would try to get him an appointment with Dr. Everhart. Harris' right leg goes numb whenever he stands still for 8­10 minutes. Some days it is too painful for him to walk because of the pain in his lower abdomen (probably the hernia).

As of November 14, 1997, Dr. Everhart had never examined Mr. Harris. He had not even listened to his heart or lungs. Mr. Harris was interviewed by Dr. Everhart on October 14, 1997, and one day about one week later. Mr. Harris asked for Motrin for pain. Dr. Everhart said that he could buy Advil at the commissary. On November 7, 1997, Harris saw Dr. Everhart, who still refused to prescribe Ambien. Dr. Everhart still did not perform a medical examination or check for a hernia.

A Grievance was filed dated November 12, 1997. It stated that Dr. Everhart would not prescribe Ambien, because it is against prison policy. It also stated that Harris had not had a medical examination since his arrival on October 14, 1997.

Dr, Everhart discontinued Mr. Harris' night medicine from November 6 until November 14, 1997. Harris had approximately 11 hours and some minutes sleep during that time. On November 14, 1997, Mr. Harris tried again to get night medicine. He saw Nurse Mickie. She arranged an appointment with Dr. Everhart for that afternoon. Dr. Everhart admitted that EstrogenÐPremarin was the wrong medicine. He prescribed Ambien 10 mg for 30 days.

On December 10, 1997, Mr. Harris was called to the infirmary. He saw Dr. Shoemaker, who renewed the Ambien for 30 days. Dr. Shoemaker gave no story about the Department of Corrections frowning on such medicine.

Mr. Harris' opinion is that other members of the medical staff try to be helpful, but that their hands are tied. Apparently no doctor can prescribe medication for an inmate without Dr. Everhart's approval. Mr. Harris wrote that there are several qualified and caring nurses, but there is not much that they can do. Also, all-of-a-sudden, as of December 7, 1997, it appears that the inmates no longer encounter problems from the medical staff. For 3 days there has been a change to a noticeable degree. Since Dr. Everhart was fired on December 23, 1997, there are two new doctors, Dr. Liskow and Dr. Periera. Dr. Liskow ordered Harris' Ambien for 6 months. Mr. Harris is very impressed with him.