I do not know the race of Mr. Titus which of course should not matter in how anyone is treated. Whatever his race is I address some of the issues with the Native health care and lack of it at the DOC.
“I’m very committed to making sure there is an actual change, Dean Williams.” We have been hearing that, but just what changes were made to the health care system? Have any appropriate staff been hired? Do they have the right kind of experience to do their jobs? Has anything been done about the incompetent, abusive bullying and impaired nurse in Kenai at Wildwood? The state of AK has known about that problem for many years. Is Laura Brooks still working for the DOC or has she been replaced by someone who can gut the system while still delivering care to make the needed changes. Why is Laura Brooks still at the DOC while the problems and deaths continue? The current DOC medical director committed malpractice against me in Nome, it was very strange and quite cruel. I guess it doesn’t really look like you are all that committed or you would have taken actions long ago that have not been taken.
The DOC has known for a long time and so has Mr. Williams as they read my blog quite a bit during their investigation that the DOC really had no health care system, instead they just abused people. It was most certainly known that the people with chemical dependency issues were being treated in a very dangerous way. It seems that has not been dealt with. One of the problems is health care in Alaska for the poor, the homeless and the chemically dependent is in general abusive and incompetent by intent. The health care corporations do not want the patients who are drunk or addicted to drugs in their ERs so they make decisions that get rid of them and cost very little money dumping them back on the DOC which does not have the staff or probably the equipment for alcohol withdrawal. They do the same with the homeless, even those who are not intoxicants. The reasons for this are very ugly and involve racism and hateful thinking.
The problems in the prison system are a part of the overall system of horrible health care for the Native people and anyone who is poor. Certainly the homeless are treated like they are non-humans in emergency rooms in Anchorage. I experienced that myself. My health problems include ME/cfs which most doctors know nothing about so they dismiss us. There are thousands upon thousands of research articles that describe ME/cfs as a very complex and serious illness but the doctors don’t read this instead they read the lies from the corrupt federal agencies who have harmed us for decades including giving the disease an idiotic name, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chronic fatigue is a part of a huge number of illnesses, it means nothing. ME/cfs is probably caused by a virus and may turn out to be Post Sepsis Syndrome. Research money was diverted to other projects. All we have gotten for decades is abuse and physicians participate. It is so bad patients actually get PTSD from the physician abuse and become suicidal. Others stop telling doctors they have ME/cfs, I don’t because my mission is to educate them or let them abuse me so I can file a complaint to make changes. Yes, that is very difficult, stressful and does take courage to do. So I went to the ER with this health problem with the added reason for them to abuse me of being a homeless person.
Staff at Brother Francis Shelter had tortured me daily by making me stand in the entryway because this psychopath they had in charge on the evening shift did not like the things I said in response to his abusive comments (psychopaths never do) and they always have at least one co-bully sidekick who assists them. Administration staff did nothing when they found out nor did they respond appropriately to the over 200 grievances I filed and large number of voice mails I left them.
ME/cfs has as a component, POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, sometimes mild in me and sometimes severe depending on what is going on. After carrying a backpack and pulling a suitcase with ME/cfs all day which is nearly impossible but I had no choice, I could barely even think or breathe and had very severe edema to my feet and ankles. Then their staff made me stand for long periods of time. I finally crashed and ended up in the ER and then he contacted the staff and told them false information to intentionally sabotage my health care and of course to continue the bullying. That resulted in more abuse and lack of health care at Providence Hospital which then affected care I got at a senior clinic where I was grossly misdiagnosed and treated horribly by staff. I even had a nurse chase me down the main hall yelling my name and by the front desk of the hospital with all the people around ask me if I had stolen the hand sanitizer. Yes, that really happened. My response was shock because it was so absurd and I asked her to call security to come and search my things due to her false accusation. I had my own non-toxic sanitizer and even if I had seen theirs would not have used it due to the mitochondrial dysfunction in ME/cfs making it hard for my body to clear toxins. I did wash my hands which is something that nurse might want to try BTW. She said she didn’t have time to call security she had patients to take care of. I asked her why she accused me and she said, “You know how you are.” Yes I do and I would never take their damn hand sanitizer or anything else. She had time to bully and slander me, but when she was about to be proven wrong, oh gotta run.
That was how I was treated at Providence Hospital and it got worse when I went to a clinic that was not supposed to be affiliated with them, but it was. I had worked at other Providence facilities as an agency nurse and worked years at a facility they purchased in Yakima Washington before the purchase, we did not treat people like this. The first time I worked at Providence in Seattle in an ICU I was given a trial by fire assignment and passed with flying colors, “You did great, please come back and work here any time.” They found out I had the skills and knowledge the nursing agency reported.
At Alaska Regional ER a Libertarian nurse told me he wished all the homeless intoxicants would just die. I was the wrong person to say that to. Then they made me wait outside in the freezing cold for a bus that was not coming for several hours. I do not have to imagine how a homeless person would be treated there, I know. I did complain about my treatment. As a former RN I can articulate my shock at their abuse which may help other people. Of course that makes them even more horrible to me. The second time I went to this ER they treated me well, I had been exposed to second hand Spice smoke due to the lack of law enforcement in Anchorage and it made me very ill.
Recently a Deputy Director of the IHS came to Alaska and wants to extend the Health Aid program that is used in remote villages to the lower 48 Native/Indian health care systems. That is a program where health care providers get 3-4 months of training then give doctors assessments, take orders, make medical decisions, deliver emergency health care, etc. That is the health care the Native Alaskans get, so the system of inadequate health care is a systemic problem that extends to the prisons where the Native people are incarcerated at much higher rates than the rest of the population. But in Alaska everyone says how wonderful this system of care is, especially IHS which was not even overseeing what went on at the stunningly incompetent hospital I worked at in Nome and had facilities all over the country that were a shit show on steroids. The decision was made not give the Native people the health care they were promised and they did not.
The principal provider of health services at the village level in Alaska is the community health aide/practitioner. Chosen by the village council, the community health aide/practitioner is responsible for giving first aid in emergencies, examining the ill, reporting their symptoms to a physician, carrying out the recommended treatment, instructing the family in giving nursing care and conducting preventive health programs in the villages. Community health aides also store and dispense prescription drugs with physician instructions:
About 3-4 months of training, no college, no degree. It takes a long time just to gain experience to do a physical exam/assessment let alone the judgment needed to work along as a health care provider.
The lack of trauma-aware programs of health care for the traumatized among the Native populations and others is causing more trauma. The prison is a situation where they take traumatized people or mentally ill people, intellectually impaired people and traumatize them more intentionally in a large number of cases. I know because of my own experiences with this while dealing with very severe PTSD. They take a person who is an alcoholic or have another chemical dependency issue and treat them as if their life does not matter rather than as if it does. That dehumanizes the individual and they get sicker, drink more, use drugs to numb themselves, to commit slow suicide. In a large number of cases they get no treatment at all. I knew what I needed to stop the development of the PTSD and was denied help several times. Then I asked treatment in many places and in many different ways and was met with ugliness or unreturned phone calls. This is SOP.
Having never been to Fairbanks I can’t make specific comments, but I know the overall general attitude of the health practitioners in the prison system. Remember my post where it was discussed that a nurse in the mental health unit which I was in because the prison abruptly stopped my Trazadone and Neurontin which were high doses secondary to very severe and complex PTSD while I was very upset due to wrongful arrest/imprisonment, knew my cat was being starved/tortured and my property certainly stolen, said “These are not patients, these are inmates.” I can’t even imagine treating people how myself and others were treated.
I worked with mentally ill legal offenders while going to college, they certainly are patients first because most of the time they should not be in the prisons to begin with, but instead should have gotten the help they needed long ago. They should have a place to live where they get assistance for their basic needs to be met and strategies are used to keep them out of trouble keeping to help keep them out of the prison system that makes them far more ill than when they arrived. For many, many people the help should have come in the form of preventing the child abuse they suffered.
From the Newsminer in Fairbanks:
Commissioner Dean Williams visited Fairbanks on Friday as part ofoutreach after the death of 40-year-old businessman Joel Titus, last week,saying he believed Titus didn’t receive adequate medical care during his twodays in custody.
“I’m concerned about the level of care Mr. Titus got, and I think there’s historical reasons and maybe past practices that explain some of this,” he said in a News-Miner interview. “But I’m not trying to explain something that doesn’t make sense to me, because there’s parts of what happened in this case that don’t make sense.”
There are historical reasons and not just at the Department of Corrections it is state wide, part racism and part corruption/incompetence.
I assume the medication Mr. Titus who had a blood alcohol of .39 was given for outpatient treatment was Librium the standard alcohol withdrawal medication. People may need to have medication adjusted while in alcohol withdrawal and of course may also have a deadly arrhythmia. Without SaO2/respiratory rate monitoring one does not know if the patient is being oxygenated adequately. Without a cardiac monitor one does not know what rhythm the person has. When a patient is in alcohol withdrawal people trained to do Advanced Cardiac Life Support should be on staff along with emergency equipment and a crash cart stocked with drugs and other necessary things. There can also be safety issues due to weakness and hallucinations. One of the articles I read said Mr. Titus was being monitored every 30 minutes and some of us know how those checks go on those kinds of units. Without strong supervision, they may not happen. Mr. Titus should have been in a unit with continual monitoring, but it sounds like he was just in some unit where they check a couple times an hour. This has not been acceptable for a long time, well never and I still want to know if the woman in the cell next to me in Kenai lived or died or was brain damaged. How many have died since I reported the problems at the DOC so long ago and then took abuse from the administrative staff for years and had lies told about me. How many?
The issues with the DOC and others in Alaska that I told the truth about are on my list of reason I was run out of Alaska about one year ago.