Hepatitis C Ruling in VA Could Impact Prisons Across Country
Monday, September 17, 2018
RICHMOND, Va. — After being refused the most up-to-date medical care for Hepatitis C while incarcerated at the Buckingham Correctional Center, Elmo Augustus Reid now is receiving potentially life-saving treatment thanks to a recent victory in court.
As many as 60 percent of people in Virginia's prisons suffer from the "silent" infection that attacks the liver, according to an estimate provided by medical authorities to the Virginia General Assembly. However, the best possible treatment is denied because of expenses that can run $20,000-$50,000 for a single course of treatment.
University of Virginia law professor George Rutherglen represents Reid and said the win could be pivotal on a national scale.
"This case involved one prisoner,” Rutherglen said, “but it's part of a wave of litigation all around the country trying to expand the treatment for chronic Hepatitis C."
Prison officials agreed to settle the case after their motion for summary judgment was denied. Rutherglen said depending on the region, anywhere from 10-60 percent of people in prison carry Hepatitis C, which has life-threatening effects including causing liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Rutherglen argued that people can't be sent to prison and left to die of liver failure. He said that shows deliberate indifference to serious medical need, which constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. As for the cost of care, he said tackling the issue actually can save money.
"They cure the disease, and they're much less expensive than treating cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer,” Rutherglen said.
A similar lawsuit was filed in Florida last year, where a federal judge ruled that treatment was lacking and more prisoners needed to be diagnosed and properly treated.
The infection causes other issues such as joint pain and extreme fatigue. It can be spread through needle usage from tattoos or illegal drug injection.
get more stories like this via email
SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …
Health and Wellness
TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …
CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …
NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…
INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …
BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …
LINCOLN, Neb. - Student-loan forgiveness has become an increasingly popular scam targeting young adults, and as an October deadline looms, consumer …