39Fw: Indiana prison treatment to the dying.
- Nov 1, 2002Pam Adams' brother, Bill French died in prison in Indiana on August 3, 2002. Bill died in the Indiana prison's "hospice", and Pam was permitted to be with him most of the time.
That sounds like a really humanitarian gesture, doesn't it? But the abuse, neglect and other horrors Pam and Bill endured was so egregious that Pam has been knocked down - but not out.
Although she's been scarred forever by what they were subjected to, Pam has taken pen in hand to make sure that the state of Indiana never forgets what they did to her family, and to try to prevent them from ever treating other people in that same manner.
Here is part one of her nightmare, in her own words:
Mr. Sevier, I just wanted to tell you a few things. I don't know if you remember me or not. I'm William French's sister.
Remember, I was called on July 18th by your nursing director Kay Aynes, and she said he may not make it until I get there, 5 hours away? I made it. He came out of his coma for a few days.
Remember, I set up a meeting with you to discuss my treatment as a sister of a dying man? At the meeting you kept looking at the clock in order to make me feel like I was taking up a whole lot of your time. Remember?
Remember, I'm the one that told you that the so-called hospice program, was not comfortable, like a hospice is suppose to be? I realize they are prisoners, but hospice is meant to make one comfortable while dying.
Remember, I left his side for a few hours to go take a shower and a quick nap. While I was gone someone wasn't doing their job, and let him fall while trying to go to the bathroom.
He hadn't walked in days. Have you ever tried to walk after being in a coma, and not walking for however many days he laid there before I was called?
I came back to the prison and all they could tell me was that an ambulance had taken him.
I know hospice usually takes them straight to the morgue, but no one would tell me if he was dead or alive, or where he'd been taken.
Have you ever spent two days sitting in a hotel room wondering if your brother or other loved one is dead or alive?
Remember, I told you that it's not a good idea to put Captain Reigle and his live-in girlfriend, Dotty working on the same desk at night together?
I did mean on the same desk, literally.
Bill had told me in letters about them making out in front of the infirmary window.
I guess to a lot of your employees, dying prisoners are just a joke.
Remember, like you said, once they enter those doors most family members just forget all about them? Remember I told you I had never forgotten my brother and never would?
Remember, I told you I had finally had enough, and started to take notes, because there was so much that went on that no one was supposed to see?
Remember when I told you there are two sanitation worker inmates who are volunteering for hospice? Brian and Jason wasted no time getting their gloves on, cleaning Bill, changing his cathater bag, changing Bill's bed, bathing and shaving him.
Jason did the job of ten of your nurses. Actually, most of what he did was the nurses' jobs.
Brian did the same, but mostly on the other side of the infirmary.
Why are those great volunteers no longer there? And Dr. Disonia?
Remember when I told you the nurses did not go into the infirmary and check until 4:30 am. I had heard a buzzer ringing from 2am until almost 4am.
That was Nikki Chesterman, Donna Jenkins, and Dottie.
The night shift nurses would go to lunch and leave the nurses station empty, or with a new, fill-in guard to sit there. Most of the time it was empty.
Rememember when I vented to a guard? He told the nurses, and Nikki the 3d shift nurse, smarted off to me several times in my dying brother's room.
She also said what they didn't see at the nurses station, the video did see.
Remember I told you I caught a guard snoring and sleeping at the video cameras? You asked me who it was. I didn't want to say, for fear of retaliation against my dying brother.
It was Louie, 3rd shift.
Remember after I vented to the guard, and he told the Captain? The very next morning they came in and took the chair right out from underneath my handicapped aunt's behind, and told her no more staying all night?
I had just left when they did that. (You probably don't remember that, because you didn't even know my aunt was with me.)
But it didn't matter to me that they took the chair. I would have stood up for 14 days to be by his side.
Remember when I was sitting at my brother's side, and Captain Regal or Reigle came in at 9pm and told me I had to leave?
I explained to him that I never make a promise, so that I never have to break one, but the night I rushed to get by my brother's side, I promised him I wouldnt leave him.
It didn't matter to the Captain. I had to beg him for 15 more minutes so I could beg my brother to die while I was there. So I could keep my promise to him.
Have you ever had to beg your mother, father, brother, sister, or any other loved one to die?
Remember when I told you when he made me leave that night that it took something out of me; that I didn't even want to visit my dying brother there anymore? I had to force myself to go for the next two days.
Not to mention, I had no transportation there with me and I was miles from the hotel where my handicapped and deaf aunt was. Someone in the front office called for her to pick me up.
Major Crabb, who had told them to make me leave, walked through the lobby while I was in a shambles. He wouldn't even look at me.
Remember on Thursday, I was there from about 4:30 to 6:30 and left on my own without being asked, but your guards at the front told other family members who had driven all night to get there, that his visiting hours were changed back to regular hours again on Wednesday?
Aren't regular visiting hours from 12-4 on Thursdays? Or 12-3?
Remember you telling me you guys would contact me if he got any worse? Even after Kay Aynes said he couldn't get any worse; that the next step for him was death.
Remember, I told you my next contact from the prison would be that he was dead?
Remember, I went on to wait for the other family members, because they were driving around until noon, to wait to get in to see him after being awake all night.
Remember, me and the other family members went in to visit him and prayed over him, praying for him to die while we were there?
Remember how hateful the employees were to me after the Captain had his say?
Remember how I told you I had sat there sometimes all day and night, without wanting to bother for an escort to go to the bathroom? Actually that wasn't too bad, considering I wasn't offered a glass of water the whole time I was there.
But I was there for my brother, not for me.
Remember me telling you and Kay that if it's hospice, they need to at least paint some clouds on the wall, if its going to be used to die in?
There was a laugh and Kay said it would be to hard to clean? Have you seen those walls?
Remember I told you that isolation chamber they were calling a hospice unit, was the same room Bill was in 4 point restraints in a few weeks earlier, because his cancer was going to his brain?
Then he died there.
Hospice? I think not.
Remember, right after our meeting I went to visit him until 4pm with other family members?
Remember, at 2:15 am a girl from the prison called the hotel and wanted to inform me that my FATHER had died at 1:10?
Remember I said, "EXCUSE ME, he's my brother!" I didn't think you would remember that.
Remember, the next day a chaplain called and said my brother died at 1:30? Didn't think you would remember that either.
Remember, I told him I don't think anyone knows what time he died, because it was on the night shift, and it will never be known how many hours he laid there before he was found.
Letters just like this are going out by e-mail and regular mail every chance I get, documenting different things that happened to me while I was with my dying brother.
It won't be stopping in Indiana.
All I needed was nine more hours with him, but you couldn't see it in your heart to give me that.
Remember me and my brother William French, 08/18/52 - 08/0302.
You'll remember us. I'll make sure you never forget.
Part Two of this nightmare is coming soon.
Pamela J. Adams
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