January 11, 2013 By Wallin & Klarich

If it wasn’t bad enough that you may be headed to State Prison.

Now the Federal Court of Appeals has said that you are not entitled to the same level of medical care as an ordinary.

In a recent decision handed down by a 2 to 1 vote in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal it was decided that if you sue a medical physician who works in a prison they can raise the legal defense that they were not provided with the adequate help they needed by the State to properly take care of you. If they raise that defense they can win as was in the case of Peralta vs. Dillard.

Dillard was a prison dentist and Peralta was a State Prison inmate. Peralta needed dental care and so he requested to see a prison dentist in January, 2004. However, due to “staff shortages” he was not seen until October, 2004, but at that time Peralta was not examined for the complaints that he had. The next time Peralta was seen was in January, 2005 for “five minutes”. The bottom line is that nobody argues that Peralta did not receive deficient medical care. The issue was whether the prison dentist could raise as a defense that it wasn’t his fault because the State was too poor to provide adequate medical staffing for the inmates.

The trial court said he could use that defense. The jury loved such defense and quickly ruled in favor of the dentist. Two of the three federal appellate justices agreed with the trial judge.

What does this mean to those poor souls who are either in a California State Prison or are headed in that direction? It means that they can expect to receive inadequate health care in prison. With this ruling there is no incentive for any medical personnel to offer adequate medical care. In fact in the Peralta case the dentist that was sued was allowed to show deliberate, indifference to the inmates medical needs because the state didn’t provide him adequate staffing.

It is one thing to feel sorry for Mr. Peralta’s dental issue. However, when we begin to receive reports that inmates with cancer and other life threatening illnesses are dying because they are not being provided with adequate medical care maybe someone who cares about all humans (even those serving time in prison) will stand up and say this is just not humane.

Our State provides millions of dollars for animals who are injured to help care for them. One would hope that we would care about the human beings that are serving time in prison when it comes to their medical needs.
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We would like your thoughts on this most recent court decision!!!
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