Friday, December 7, 2007

The laughable jail "care coordinator"

I was at Suzanne Kays earlier this week to visit James and ended up chatting with another bored person in the visitor's waiting line. I eventually mentioned this blog, and ended up giving her my e-mail address, telling her I would publish any account of problems she was having as long as she didn't mind me making her anonymous.

I heard from her today, and it was a real bummer. Seems her husband was taken from Suzanne Kays to Parkland's ER, and after nine hours of phone calls and a visit to Parkland, she is still completely ignorant of why her husband was taken to the ER. Or even when he was taken to the ER. The last time she spoke to him was last weekend.

Here is her e-mail - I have censored names to protect the innocent, and fixed some spelling errors.

I spent most of the day (Dec 7) trying to find out why my husband (I've changed his name to XXXXX) was taken to Parkland, and I still don't know. It all started this morning about 8:30, his attorney called and left a message that just said that he was at Parkland and to call him back. I called back but he was in court. Later he called me back but I was in a meeting at work.

So I started making phone calls to jail staff and Parkland to see if I could find out what was wrong, especially as XXXXX is a diabetic. If his blood sugar has crashed or he's gone into insulin shock he may not be able to talk straight to the doctors. Here's who I called:

First I called Parkland and asked to speak to Parkland Jail Health. Someone named Rhonda answered and said I should call someone named June, the Care Coordinator. (Note: I removed June's last name for what will soon be obvious reasons.)

I called June and got her voice mail, so I left a message for her to call me back. She never did.

I shoul mention here that my other conversations with this care coordinator June weren't any good. About two months ago, I called her to try and get my husband's medication sorted out, and she was real snippy. She even suggested that "if I didn't like the way he was treated in jail, I should just bail him". Then she hung up on me. If she'll loan me seven grand, sure I'll bail him, at the moment it's all I can do to pay the mortgage. XXXXX hasn't been tried or convicted of anything, but I guess it won't matter, we'll probably lose the house anyway.

I then decided to call Parkland again and asked for the ER. The ER nurse said that my husband was there, but she couldn't tell me anything else as he hadn't filled in a release of information.

So next I decided to call the Dallas County Jail main number which is (214) 761-9025. It's my understanding that this number only has one incoming line. Every time I called it, I had to wait 15-20 minutes for someone to pick it up.

After 18 minutes (I timed it), someone picked up the phone. I explained the situation and she suggested I go to the ER and ask to speak to the prison guard, as my husband would have been taken to Parkland by a prison guard. I got to Parkland, found the ER, but then nobody would tell me anything. Said he was an inmate (big surprise). Nobody knew anything about this "release of information" the ER nurse told me about earlier. So I don't know if my husband ever got the release, or even knew about it, or if he's so sick he can't fill it out.

I got back to work and decided to call Parkland Jail Health again at 214-712-3032 but they said that only the "care coordinator" could help me. I called her number several more times but she never answered. Maybe she recognized my number and just thinks I'm trying to make trouble.

I finally called the jail again, but nobody could help me. They just insisted that the care coordinator was the only person who could talk to me about XXXXX's condition.

It's 5:15pm and I still don't know if my husband is even dead or alive. I guess I'll go to the jail tonight at visiting hours. Maybe one of the guards will tell me what's going on.

I haven't much to add to this. It speaks for itself. I just dread to think that her husband is dying, or dead, and she is sitting there at home unaware of his condition. Why should anyone treat another human being so badly? She's not even the one in jail.

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