Reform in a Prison Hospital: A Dramatic Case Study of Bioethics, Criminal Justice and Public Administration

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iUniverse, Feb 6, 2009 - Political Science
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Following an overview of America's "Shameful Prisons," this book dissects the stream of reprisals imposed upon the physician who blew the whistle to uncover a culture of mediocrity that tolerated severe deficiencies in the quality of medical care afforded to inmates in the Nebraska State prison system. Using two thousand pages of detailed incident reports and verbatim court transcripts, the author dramatizes the conflict by quoting what the protagonists actually said.

The Nebraska Ombudsman spent fourteen months probing a dozen areas of alleged deleliction including diagnosis of chest pain, transmission of communicable diseases, deteriorated equipment, insufficient training of nurses, wavering standards for referral to outside specialists, and inhumane pain management.

Exhaustive documentation and extensive press coverage enabled the author to highlight both the hospital leadership's opposition to the Ombudsman's intervention and the Nebraska Governor's personal denigration of the Ombudsman. The findings of the Governor's blue ribbon Task Force echoed the Ombudsman's recommendations. The State Legislature enacted comprehensive and durable remedial legislation.

"How trenchantly informing I find your "Prelude" on "Shameful Prisons to be. Needless to say, what it teaches is not something we want to learn. But, having sanctioned this incarceration regime, we American voters must sit still to hear the truth about what, in our willful stupidity, we have caused to happen."
Thomas Schrock, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara

"[This] is certainly a story worth being told and has important implications for correctional systems everywhere."
Marshall Lux, Nebraska State Ombudsman

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