Inmate Surgery: What if a Prisoner Requires Specialized Treatment?

Whether your inmate had a medical condition requiring surgery before going to jail or the condition developed after he was there, the jail is legally responsible for making sure his needs are taken care of. In most cases the following steps will be taken.

Verifying the condition: If he needed surgery before coming into the jail, the jail doctor will want to see the medical records surrounding the diagnosis. This is to be sure your inmate has accurately described the condition and the need for surgery.

Second opinion: The jail physician will typically order another examination. He or she may perform the needed tests or might furlough your boyfriend out to a jail to an approved doctor to get a second opinion. If it is agreed all around that surgery is needed, your inmate will see a surgeon.

Consult: Because surgeons are not typically on the jail staff roster, your inmate will be furloughed out for a surgery consultation. Some jails have surgeons willing to come to the jail for that appointment. In any case, surgery will be scheduled.

Same day prep: The majority of patients having surgery go to the hospital a few days beforehand to have blood drawn, pre-op x-rays taken and other things that need to be done before the operation. Because he’s incarcerated, don’t be surprised if they schedule all of his pre-operation tasks for the same day as surgery. This has to do with minimizing the number of times he leaves the security of the jail and also the cost of having guards accompany him each time. Typically, he will be told to arrive a few hours before the surgery is scheduled so they can do all the pre-op work that morning.

Handcuffs: Depending on how much of a flight risk they consider him, he may be handcuffed to the hospital bed following his surgery. He will remain in the hospital until released by the surgeon to return to jail.

Exceptions: If your inmate needs emergency surgery the above steps will be adjusted as needed so he can have immediate surgery. If the needed surgery is elective, he will have to wait until he is released to get it done.

Final thoughts: It’s likely that your inmate with be sent back to the jail at the earliest opportunity, regardless of his pain or his strength levels. As soon as they can safely discharge him they will. The jail will then place him in the medical POD until he is strong enough to go back to his cell. Most inmates are forbidden to have visitors at the hospital but sometimes the guards will allow it. Ask them in a polite manner and promise to only stay a few minutes at a time.

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About Mark Miclette 682 Articles
writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.