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State refuses to give diabetic inmate shoes, gets plea to avoid lawsuit

Nooganomics: Local Economy & Free Markets |

Dear Commissioner Parker, I am writing to ask your help in obtaining medically prescribed shoes and to help the state and its medical provider, Centurion, avoid costly litigation.

I know that the department and the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex administration are frustrated over my various complaints and lawsuits, but most of them would be a necessary if the state and/or its private contractors would simply obey the law.

By Robert Z. Whipple III, No. 399615

In this case, state officials are being deliberately indifferent to my serious medical needs, a violation of my right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. constitution. Regardless of whether or not you or the department agree with me, another federal lawsuit will cost the state tens of thousands of dollars, while my requested solution will cost the state nothing. I ask only to be allowed to order a pair of shoes in my size to alleviate my pain.

I have been borderline diabetic, or pre-diabetic, for several years now. I also have a very wide foot, and the state-provided boots do not fit properly. I wear a size 12-EEE, but state boots are only available in D-widths. For most of the time I’ve been incarcerated, I have worn shoes purchased from Union Supply that are either EE or EEEE width, but the last several times I’ve tried to order, Union Supply has been out of stock in my size. I still have a pair of New Balance shoes, but they are so worn that there is a hole all the way through the sole, allowing water to soak into them.

Because of this, I have had to wear the D width boots, which are very painful. This has led me to stop walking for exercise which has, in turn, leads to weight gain. This weight gain has caused my A1C [indicator of how well blood sugar is under control in a diabetic. — ed] to increase, and as of my most recent chronic care visit, I was diagnosed as full-blown diabetic.

Centurion’s physician assigned to BCCX, Dr. Belknap, diagnosed my diabetes on October 25, 2017, and wrote me a medical order for shoes in my size on that same day. Because I thought I would  receive medical shoes, I did not try to order shoes from Union Supply in my package month (November), though chances are good they would have been out of stock again.

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