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Inmate's daughter expresses medical concerns

Published January 25. 2012 05:02PM

The daughter of a Carbon County inmate is speaking out regarding medical issues at the county prison.

Kately Stofko of Northampton, whose father is currently serving his sentence in the Carbon County Correctional Facility, responded to an article published in the TIMES NEWS on Jan. 19, regarding anonymous complaints about the prison medical staff. The county prison board addressed this matter last Wednesday, when a mother of two inmates approached the board after hearing about medical issues through a local television report the night before.

"I would like for people to know how the inmates are really being treated," Stofko said in an email to the newspaper. "My dad is in the same cell with the guys (who have scabies) and talks to the one with the skin rash and he knows they have not been taken care of."

Stofko said she received a letter from her father about the issue after the article ran.

She said her father said, "There are people in here with scabies, also one with MRSA. There is also men with a skin rash and the nurse is not sure what it is. According to the inmates in work release none of them had seen a dermatologist yet."

She added that she is scared for her family because when her father comes home, he may have the possibility of passing these health issues onto herself or her 14-year-old sister.

"It makes me mad knowing that there are guys in there for minor offenses and when they come home they will just be in a worse condition and it is not fair to them or their families that can end up with these infections," she said.

At last week's prison board meeting, Robert Crampsie, chairman of the board, said the county had received some anonymous complaints about the medical treatment at the prison, but there were no specific instances mentioned in the complaints.

Commissioner William O'Gurek added that these anonymous complaints make it hard for the county to address the issues because of the lack of specifics. He asked that if someone makes a complaint to identify themselves and the specific problem so it could be properly investigated.

Warden Joseph Gross then informed the board that the medical staff is currently treating three cases of scabies in the prison.

"Our nursing staff has done everything they can do to provide health care treatment to the three individuals who have scabies," he said last week. "They have been provided with prescription medications. They have seen dermatologists. They have seen our in-house doctor, and out of the three who have it they are on the way to recovery."

He added that inmates must fill out a request form when they want to see the prison doctor. The form asks for symptoms and other detailed information.

Gross said if the forms do not have enough information on it, the nurses may not "red flag" it for immediate attention, but all inmates who request medical attention are seen by one of the medical staff within a day or two.

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