Visit with Mumia & Medical Update
With Great Pride
April 11, 2015
On Thursday April 9, 2015 I visited my husband Mumia Abu-Jamal at SCI Mahanoy, with Rachel Wolkenstein my lawyer and sister.I had seen Mumia in the ICU at the hospital, where he was sitting upright, hand cuffed to a chair. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6 with my sister Pam Africa, Abdul Jon and Johanna Fernandez. I cried when I saw those photos. But I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die. …
I’ve never seen eczema look like that before – this beautiful brown skin, and I know his whole body from his head to his toes, for his body to be like we saw it today and how thin and weak he is…. [See the pictures we took of him showing the bumps and scabs on his arms.] Mumia’s skin was itching and he started scratching and I said to him let me do it and I started patting and that eased it. I was doing it for him and talking to him at the same time. But he’s in pain and I’ve had enough children that I can feel where infection is in your body. I can touch a certain wound or bruise and I can feel heat – that means infection is there.
Mumia said another prisoner, Major Tillery, kept after Mumia, telling him he was really sick, being damaged physically and emotionally; that Mumia needed real medical help. Major told Mumia that he was “fucked up” and “out of it.” Major Tillery filed grievances about the prison conditions leading to skin rashes. Major Tillery had gone directly to SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and point blank said he needed to get Mumia to the hospital. Major Tillery told the Superintendent, “Mumia is dying.” Kerestes told Major Tillery to “take care of himself.”Major answered back, “taking care of Mumia is taking care of myself.” We just learned that yesterday morning Major Tillery was transferred out of Mahanoy to SCI Frackville, where he had previously been kept in the hole. This is retaliation for fighting for Mumia.
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Write to me at: Wadiya Jamal, PO Box 19404, Kingsessing Station, Philadelphia, Pa. 19143-9998
There was medical neglect and mistreatment of Mumia. In January Mumia asked for treatment for an increasingly serious skin problem that spread over his entire body. He was treated with antibiotics and steroids, both crèmes and pills.
Mumia had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic they gave him. His body broke out violently in blisters. From the steroids Mumia described swelling up from his feet to his head, like a balloon, his skin ready to bust. He had trouble breathing.
Mumia told us a prison doctor said he looked like he was “in a suit of armor,” his skin was so tight and crusted, his chest raised up to his chin, to create space to breathe.”
It was Mumia who told the doctors he was having an allergic reaction to the medicine he was given. Mumia had at least three blood tests and also ultrasounds. Ultrasounds showed he had a patch of pneumonia and gallstones. Mumia was admitted into the prison infirmary for a week in February. On February 17 Mumia weighed 268 pounds. When he was discharged from the infirmary a week later he had lost over twenty pounds. On March 30, when he was taken to the hospital in a diabetic shock, his weight had dropped to 184 pounds. That’s a loss of 80 pounds in five weeks. His blood sugar levels registered high since at least February. Mumia’s blood pressure was high and the prison was monitoring it periodically.
Blood tests taken on March 6, showed his blood sugar level of over 400. This is a dangerously high level indicating a medical emergency. Almost three weeks later on March 30, Mumia went into diabetic shock—his sugar glucose when he got to the hospital ICU was near 800, which can be fatal. When Mumia collapsed he had gone to the infirmary for a blood pressure check. His sodium level was also dangerously high and he was dehydrated. If Mumia had gone into the diabetic shock at night in his cell, he would likely have died.
Mumia was not previously a diabetic. This condition grew within a period of about three months during treatment for his skin—which is still covered with scabs. He was told he had eczema because there is a family history. But we heard from other prisoners that they had a similar developing skin condition and grievances were filed at the prison, but no responses.
Wadiya was given medical updates a few times from the Chief Medical Care Adminstrator at SCI Mahanoy. But since Wednesday, April 8, he was not available or his phone line not answered.
Mumia’s physical condition is far from stable. His blood sugar levels are in great flux now, from quite low (below 70) and back up to highs in the 200s.
Mumia told us the special diet he is now given is a 2500 daily calorie diet, with some meats, cereal, white bread and fruit, mostly oranges. But a diabetic diet is not a question of calories, but what foods are made available for him as part of a particularized diet, exercise and regulation of his blood sugars as best for him.
We are all fighting to get a specialist to examine Mumia and set up a treatment plan for him. The question will be what it will take to get that enforced over a continued period of time.
Check Mumia’s Facebook and the websites of organizations fighting for Mumia: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Move organization, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.com, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.com for more information.
WE NEED TO KEEP UP THE PRESSURE.
Let SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing examine and treat him.
Superintendent John Kerestes
Chief Health Care Administrator Steinhardt
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
Support and Contribute to the Indiegogo online campaign to raise money to help pay from the legal and medical campaign for Mumia, including costs for Mumia’s family, friends and core organizers to travel to see Mumia.