To All Texas Senators
State Represenatives
Govenor Rick Perry
Lt. Govenor Radcliff

Michael Higgins #386856
C.T. Terrell Unit
1300 F.M. 655
Huntsville, Texas
Letter Dated 8/18/2002

We inmates are having to literally fight for very lives due to the State turning a blind eye and deaf ear on our pleas and requests.

TDCJ/UTMB has known I have Hepatitis C virus for over 2 years, yet I have never received treatment with antiviral medications.

When I came to TDC in June 3 of 2000 I was on the Goodman Transfer Facility working in the inmate dining hall and went to see P.A. Fred Moore and was informed I had ALT of 360+ and was also told I have hepatitis C.

During the time, from July 3rd 2000 until Nov. 2001 I didn't have fluid retention as I do now. Upon coming to the C.T. Terrell Unit, I have been diagnosed by P.A. William Shelby with cirrhosis, which is hepatitis C cirrhosis. I am now experiencing a lot of swelling, ascites and edema of lower abdomen due to my liver being further damaged from untreated Hepatitis virus.

Every time I have asked to be given needed treatment with antiviral medications I have been given a run-a-round. My liver can be saved. I can live a considerable more amount of years if the virus can be stopped with medication. This is a life threatening illness, that for over 2 years UTMB-TDCJ has known about, but refuse to treat by giving me life saving medications and medical attention.

During the early through late 1980's in Texas Dept of Corrections (now re-named Texas Dept of Criminal Justice TDCJ-ID, but still the (good ole' boys attitude) scores of inmates with HIV died for the excuse that "the medicine costs too much to give away to convicts" so many suffered needless agony and death at the hands of their captors. The year is late 2002 and the needless deaths have risen to outstanding numbers. The Hepatitis C virus, (HCV) is taking a drastic toll on thousands of inmates, but just like HIV in the 1980's this doesn't have to happen as often.

There is a big difference between HIV and HCV; there is a drug combination that can be administered through injection-orally and it's called Interferon-Pegintron/Ribavirin Antriviral medication combination therapy that can stop this virus, Hepatitis C.

The problem; here's the same old cliche I myself and others are getting from the medical departments on "Every Unit" in the TDCJ-ID is; "You don't meet the {Criteria"} or meet the {Protocol}. When I wrote to several of our "authorities" and respectfully and humbly inquire "can you please tell me, what exactly your Protocol and Criteria are and reason(s) for denying me needed medical treatment due to me not meeting your "Standards" or "Protocol" could you please define and list this "Protocol" and "Criteria", I never get any reply.

Also,I noticed a swelling and a sore that was real red on my chest, it swelled up huge, now I have a Staph infection, this guy in 13 cubicle (dorm 14) has a full-blown staff infection I am number 9 on a-4 dorm to have this Staph infection.

Ms. Hull please place this letter on the internet in e-mail activist groups etc. I hope people get to see it least someone that will care enough to make a difference and call and write to State Representatives Senators,Legislatures, and voice concerns.

It is your tax paying dollars being used for "services not rendered".
Best wishes, thanks for the help and support Michael Higgins.

Letter dated Aug 10, 2002
Chris Odum #100018
1300 F.m. 655
Rosharon Texas 77583

I take pen in hand, being totally destitute w/o funds w/ which to hire an attorney to represent me, yet also knowing full well that an injustice is being perpetrated against me. I ask your prayerful consideration toward my assistance, which I consider to be a matter of great importance, not only to myself but many others. I am a TDC inmate who has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C The TDC was the first to discover my illness during an earlier stint of incarceration in 2000-2001 yet they choose "NOT" to reveal said discovery to me, therefore upon my release and before my revocation of Parole I am afraid I have put others in harms way via sexual contact, before finding out about my illness from a private physician.

The aforementioned doctor and I were in the process of working out a treatment regimen to include the drug interferon prior to my revocation. I am now back in TDC and being told such medical treatments will not be initiated by TDC to be incurred by the Great State of Texas. Again, such medical treatment will not be forthcoming.

My A.l.T. levels are very high (195) and I am suffering dizziness, nausea and forced to attend both an 8 hour day shift in the cannery in the intense heat of the day and to attend educational classes from 4.45-11:15 am each day- thus I have no time in which to sleep and rest as needed for people with such an illness.

I am very much in need of outside help w/ which to remedy this situation. Can you please assist me? I recently have spoken to an inmate named Michael Higgens who offered me no hope for help in the law, yet I was able to memorize your address so that I could contact you first hand. I wish to obtain any and all information concerning hepatitis c and any and how I can proceed from legal and medical standpoints. I also ask to be added to your list of awareness groups which may be of assistance to me. In close, I thank you for your time and assistance, not only for myself but for all of us who are suffering.

I humbly and anxiously await for your response in the hopes of receipt of requested information and assistance. Until such time I remain.....
Terminally Ill
Chris Odum

July 29,2002
Larry White #616652
Wynne Unit

Huntsville Texas 77349

I have not been treated for Hepatitis C, my feet, my back and neck and the chronic arthritis I have. I had been in a bad car wreck in 1979 but since then I have been locked away.

I have serious medical needs that have been put off too long. TDC and UTMB has put this off until I had serious medical problems.

There is another inmate here in this dorm who gets no treatment, TDC wont treat him UTMB wont treat him, he has all the symptoms of stage 3 hepatitis. He has 2 years on his sentence. I don't think he'll live that long, however I do not wish to end up like him and others that died from Hepatitis C.

I use to do many things but started having a lot of complications 3 years ago. I cant even exercise anymore do to my arthritis and Hepatitis C. I am trying to get the V.A. hospital in Houston to intercept treatment, but TDC wont allow it for some reason.
Larry White

Please write a letter in protest to the death sentence being imposed on these by the State of Texas as they were not sentenced to the death penality.

senate list

The neglect of inmates' medical needs, particularly where this has the effect of causing or hastening death or disability, is a serious breach of government responsibility and of inmates' human rights.  It is unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable.  It is also contrary to international human rights conventions.  Principle 24 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment sets out the following standard for inmate medical care:
"A proper medical examination shall be offered to a detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible after his admission to the place of detention or imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and treatment shall be provided whenever necessary.  This care and treatment shall be provided free of charge."
Article 9 of the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners states that: "Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation."
As if these breaches of international human rights conventions were not enough, the medical neglect of this prisoner has actually put his life in danger.  See Part III, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law.  No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."