A recent study revealed that out of the top three reasons why OBGYN physicians are sued for malpractice, two of them are related to inaction: 1) delays in intervention when there are signs of fetal distress and 2) the improper management of pregnancy including failing to test for fetal abnormalities when indicated, failure to address complications of pregnancy, and the failure to address abnormal findings. As a family medicine physician, I have been warned countless of times that one of the most common lawsuits relates to not identifying cases of skin cancer. In each of the instances, an inaction that results in a patient not receiving standard care is considered malpractice.
Given that not providing standard of care is malpractice, Mumia has been a victim of malpractice at the hands of the prison health system in two major areas:
- Even though Hepatitis C treatment is not always required, the failure to provide it for Mr. Abu-Jamal would be medical negligence. By even the most conservative standards, he meets criteria for treatment.
- Failing to treat his elevated blood sugars until he was unconscious is clear malpractice and gross negligence.
Unfortunately, Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case is not an isolated incident. Across the country inmates are not only being denied necessary Hepatitis C treatment, but they are also being denied other basic healthcare needs.