Lawyers demand immediate intervention in alleged medical neglect of incarcerated man | Social Justice | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Lawyers demand immediate intervention in alleged medical neglect of incarcerated man

click to enlarge Lawyers demand immediate intervention in alleged medical neglect of incarcerated man
CP Photo: Lisa Cunningham
Allegheny County Jail

A local law firm has written to the county Jail Oversight Board demanding an immediate intervention in the jail’s alleged neglect of an incarcerated individual with an incurable disease.

In the week since Pittsburgh City Paper reported on Denzelle Kendrick’s allegations that Allegheny County Jail medical providers refused him necessary medication for treating his sickle cell disease and left him unconscious in his cell for at least an hour during a life-threatening medical emergency, Abolitionist Law Center Staff Attorney Dolly Prabhu says Kendrick’s medical care has not improved.

“We are seriously concerned for Mr. Kendrick's wellbeing,” Prabhu writes in an email to the Jail Oversight Board, “as the jail has not appeared to have taken any corrective measures that we suggested—all of which were reviewed and co-signed by Dr. William Weber, a board-certified emergency physician on faculty at Harvard Medical School, who has treated hundreds of individuals experiencing sickle cell crises.”

Prabhu says jail physician Ines Kananda called up Kendrick’s lifelong doctor to argue that Kananda knew better how to appropriately treat Kendrick’s illness. She calls Kananda’s behavior “appalling,” writing that Kananda “continues to refuse to even see Mr. Kendrick, and accuses him of lying about his condition and his pain.”

“Alerting the Warden to this situation has clearly not made Mr. Kendrick any safer,” Prabhu writes, requesting the oversight board investigate and intervene in Kendrick’s situation, in accordance with a state law authorizing the board to oversee the health and safety of people incarcerated at the jail.

Prabhu emphasizes the urgency of Kendrick’s medical situation, writing that “Mr. Kendrick reported feeling on the verge of another acute crisis yesterday. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Kendrick's life is at risk, and the jail has been put on clear notice.”

Jail spokesperson Jesse Geleynse says Kendrick’s accusations of medical neglect are false.

“Mr. Kendrick is under the care of a physician through our health care provider and is receiving all of the care, including medications, that have been directed for him by that physician,” Geleynse tells City Paper in an email. “He has also been seen by medical staff at the facility numerous times and continues to receive visits and treatment from the health staff and the medical provider.”

The Jail Oversight Board will hold its monthly public meeting tonight, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Allegheny County Courthouse.