Sept. 21, 2019

Trying to See a Doctor on Death Row

by Douglas Blaine Matthews (author's profile)



Dear Reader,
Hey! I hope you are doing well!

I was going to write about birthdays on death row, as I just had mine on August 26th, but instead I'll write about what's bothering me at the moment.

I've been trying to see a doctor here for almost two months for a cardiac issue. I shared with you the situation that caused my heart problem. A few testes have been done over the last few years that's revealed that I have trace—mild amounts of regurgitation in my aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonic heart valves, fibrocalcific changes on my aortic and mitral valves and borderline congentric left ventricular hypertrophy. A mildly enlarged atrial valve as well.

Now... the problems that I can feel come and go. Lately they've been back. My heart will pause for about one or two seconds and then beat a couple rapid beats and then normalize. Without provocation. And when I lay down on my left side, my heartbeat sometimes becomes arrhthmic.

I recently tested, on my own, how high I could get my heart rate by doing jumping jacks. I clocked in at 168 beats per minute, and that's when my heart became arrythmic for a prolonged period of time. Or rather, the 30-45 seconds it took my heart rate to slow. Now, I do workout. I play basketball the two times I get to come out of my cell. And three times a week, I'll do upright cardio exercises. Other days it's just yoga and pacing in my cell and maybe some jogging in place.

In short, my heart is still healthy but there is something wrong with it that, at times, gets really bad. And medical won't investigate this during the time period that it's acting up.

I'll have to fill out sick calls over and over for several months to get any action out of them. And it's not the nurse who works in my dorm. She put me in to see the doctor. It's whoever handles it after that. For the last four weeks, I've been told I'm on the doctor's list and each week I am not called. Before that, it took me two weeks to be seen for my sick call...

So... that's what's bothering me today. Medical neglect on death row.

This system neglects us on the row because to them, we're all dying anyway so why spend the money on us to fix us up? It's like paying for a fresh new paint job on a car that's on it's way to the chop-shop. Centurion has been our new medical provider since 2016...

I'm on the verge of filing a lawsuit. I'd have to do it myself, but I will need the help of a legal aid so I can do it right. It costs $450 plus an additional $25 or $75 in filing fees. I don't have it, but I'll get to attach an affidavit of indigence, and the courts will just put a lein on my inmate's Jpay account for the amount.

So, that's the direction I'm heading if I can't get some help soon. I dream about being able to workout the way I used to. Push ups, squats, dips, pull ups... All to failure. Now if I strain, my heart screws up. It all started on November 2015...

I'm 38 years old! I shouldn't have a problem with working out! I miss it very much...

Thanks for listening to me rant. Or rather, reading it. I needed to get it off my chest.

Until next time.

I forgot to mention, they've refused to diagnose and treat me for my medical issue. If they diagnose me, then by law they have to treat me... loophole. :!

Yours truly,


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