The Journal of History     Fall 2004    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Michael D. Higgins Medical Neglect


Michael D. Higgins #386851
C.T. Terrell Unit
1300 F.M. 655
Rosharon, Texas 77583

My name is Michael Higgins Jr., and it's also good to know we incarcerated beings have a voice here in Texas as well. Greetings to you and all. I do a lot of legal work here in our unit law library on the C.T. Terrell Unit.

The present problem I as well as many, many other inmates within TDCJ-ID, is securing treatment for Hepatitis C virus. Here is my dilemma: I was returned to TDCJ on May 30, 2000 due to a technical parole violation-no new charges, time or laws broken, blood was taken the next day. I was transferred to the Glen Ray Goodman Transfer Facility on June 8, 2000 and on July 3, 2000 I learned that I had HCV and was taken out of the kitchen there and placed in the shower squad there, due to them not allowing offenders with HIV to work around food. The day I found out I had HCV, I automatically responded with "don't they give that interferon stuff for Hepatitis C?" The guy I spoke with said "Yes, but it costs too much to go giving it to convicts and all."

During the time I was at Goodman, they monitored my ALT levels Liver enzyme count. Mine were high at 472; normal is 1-51. I then went to the #042 Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville on March 25, 2001. Upon arriving there I immediately started requesting Interferon medication for my HCV. The response was it takes 6 months of monitoring my ALT levels before I can be placed on these medications. Ever since July 3, 2000 this has been going on, always it takes 6 months, meanwhile my liver gets further damaged and deteriorates that much more every day.

I am denied needed medical treatment with these medications, treatments that are needed essentially to save what little bit of liver I have left in order to save my life. We inmates are having to literally fight for our very lives due to the State turning a blind eye and deaf ear on our pleas and requests.

I am in the stages of a Federal Civil Action, to compel the TDCJ-ID/UTMB-CMHCS Galveston to begin immediate HCV treatment needed to save lives, not placebos, which are commonplace here on this unit, along with carting deceased inmates out of here between 2 to 5 per month. This unit is low in comparison to Stiles Unit Beaumont Texas which carts out dead prisoners every day.

There is a landmark case, which was a fellow contributor to the HC Awareness newsletter project, a Mr. Michael K. Pauley, who was a prisoner in the Kentucky State Reformatory (that is prison there). It seems that his state tried to kill him also. They did him just as TDCJ/UTMB is doing me. At the HC Awareness Project, we have various contributors who range from Licensed Dieticians to actual owners of hepatitis outpatient centers. One in particular is:
Dr. Bennet Cecil M.D.
President of Hepatitis Treatment Centers Inc.
Suburban Medical Plaza 1 Suite 3C
4001 Duchmans Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 400207

Here is what Dr. Cecil said about Michael K. Pauley's case: This quote is from the May/June 2002 Hepatitis C Awareness News front page. "Patients with HCV, who have cirrhosis, need treatment now. If you are in prison and have HCV cirrhosis, you must insist on antiviral treatment. If the prison doctors will not treat you, you should request a medical parole. You may have to hire an attorney and file suit in Federal Court, like Michael Pauley did. It is illegal to deny needed medical treatment to a prisoner."

This is what they are doing here in TDCJ on this unit to me. Here in the medical department on the C.T. Terrell unit, I Finally found the Michael K. Pauley federal civil case docket number, but it is not published yet. I've also been ignored for over 2 years flat, now it's time to "get-in- where- I- fit- in -at "NOW!" I've got the case number and information and I have President of HC Awareness project, Mrs Phyliss Beck, using the net to try and secure and send me a full copy of Micheal K.
Pauley vs Commonwealth of Kentucky
(Western District of Kentucky La Range, Kentucky.

Here is what the magistrate Judge responded with at the time of granting the preliminary Injunction on Mr. Pauley's case:"Pauley had advanced liver disease and a 50% chance of dying before the end of his 5 year sentence if denied treatment. At the time Kentucky had 22 criteria that a prisoner had to meet to have HCV treatment provided, but not a single prisoner had been treated under those criteria. I find that treatment was denied, not because of medical judgment, but because of an unwritten policy that no prisoner would be treated for HCV. Also found is that the criteria represented such a departure from accepted medical judgment as to suggest that no such judgment was exercised."

This statement is right in par with my set of circumstances, in every way, except maybe for the life expectant part about 5 year prison sentence. There is an extremely bad situation here with our physicians assistants on my unit for example: an inmate goes to Hospital Galveston(UTMB John Sealy) and has surgery and is sent back here to re-cooperate. He is also given good pain medication for his post operative pain, but our P.A.'s refuse to give the UTMB John Sealy Hospital Medical doctors prescribed pain medication. This is a FACT. I would also consider that the deliberate indifference and acting out of official capacity to be dereliction of duty. This unit medical c


From: Health.Services@t... (Rachel Kinney) [Names changed to protect the innocent]
Date: Wed, Aug 21, 2002, 2:33pm
To: lundyhill-tx@w..., inst.div@t...
Subject: Michael Higgins #386851 Dear Ms. Hill:
Linda Maren at the Texas Department of Health passed along the concern you sent her by Email regarding Offender Michael Higgins. His medical record has been reviewed, but since we do not have authorization from him to release medical information to you, this response is given in general terms. He has been followed according to TDCJ and UTMB Correctional Managed Health Care policies and procedures. Those policies and procedures define who should be considered for treatment with interferon and ribavirin, and age generally consistent with guidelines issues by the National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on the Management of Hepatitis C. Under those guidelines, some people are not good candidates for treatment. Those limitations apply to people with very mild or very advanced liver disease, those with certain other medical conditions and the very young or older people.

By those guidelines, Offender Higgins has not appeared to a good candidate for treatment. Treatment has not been withheld because of cost considerations as he claims. Even though he does not appear to be a candidate for treatment, the medical staff on the unit have been discussing his case with a gastroenterology specialist at UTMB to help clarify whether or not he should be treated. Sincerely, Mitchell Kilden, M.D., MPH Director of Preventative Medicine Health Services Division Ref #s: 1-5374-02 & 0200386851000188


Please take a minute to write an e-mail or letter in protest to the inhumane treatment of this inmate to:
Owen J. Murray
UTMB /TDCJ Medical Director
Facilities Operations
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1007
phone (936) 437-3642
FAX: (936) 437-3638>

Judy L. Norris R.N.BSN Director
Office of Quality Services and Risk Management
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1007

Gigi Metzler
Quality Services
300 University Blvd.
Galveston, Texas 77555-1007

U.T.M.B. Board Of Regents

Ben G. Raimer

Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff
Capitol Station
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
512 463-0001

Health Facility Licensing and Compliance Division
Texas Department of Health
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756
FAX (512) 834-6653
Complaint Hotline (888) 973-0022

Editor's note: These listed names and Email addresses are legitimate.
No one but God should be able to decide who lives and who dies.


The Journal of History - Fall 2004 Copyright © 2004 by News Source, Inc.