Judge Blasts Florida In Final Order Requiring Treatment Of Inmates For Hepatitis C

Apr 19, 2019

Blasting the Florida Department of Corrections’ “long and sordid history of neglecting” inmates who have hepatitis C infections, and citing a “risk of such deliberate indifference reoccurring in the future,” a federal judge ordered Thursday evening that the state must treat all inmates with the disease.

The order is the result of a class-action lawsuit begun by three Florida inmates nearly two years ago. According to the order, the truth uncovered at earlier hearings was “crystal:” that the Florida Department of Corrections did not treat inmates with this infection because the drugs used to cure it, called “direct-acting antivirals,” were too expensive.

In an order that “recast” his earlier findings into a permanent injunction, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker instructed the department to screen and treat all inmates for hepatitis C. In his earlier preliminary injunction filed in late 2017, the department was required to treat prisoners by certain deadlines depending on the severity of the disease, but did not require treatment at the early stages.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that’s most often contracted through intravenous drug use, but it can also be transmitted through tattooing or blood transfusions. If it’s not treated, it can lead to liver infection, liver cancer, bleeding, bloating and a painful death.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald