This was originally published on MSR’s site.

By: Stephan Holmes

Featured image by Grant Durr

I am located at MCF Oak Park Heights in the Transitional Care Unit. I am wheelchair-bound and have a rare medical condition called cauda equina, which causes me to have chronic nerve pain and spazzing in my lower back spinal cord area and right leg.

I have experienced excessive force due to my medical condition. I was left sleeping in my wheelchair for 39 days because I couldn’t physically transfer myself due to my medical issues. While left in my wheelchair for 39 days, my medical conditions got worse. Both of my feet and legs swelled up turning green and reddish. 

Also, my hands started curling up and I couldn’t really move them. It was hard to eat or even hold my toothbrush or anything really. I was seen by two different doctors who didn’t even acknowledge my worsening and new medical conditions. They failed to put in their reports about my new and worsening conditions, but instead put in their report that I was fine and looked good. 

I didn’t get any help until a physical therapist saw me and I showed him my condition and that I had been sleeping in my wheelchair. He called down to the central office and moved me a few days later to the medical unit. After an hour of being there, I was sent to Regions because of how bad of shape I was in. 

I stayed at Regions for 10 days undergoing tests. When the doctors finally came to the conclusion that my new medical condition was from being left in my wheelchair for 39 days, the Department of Corrections pulled me out of the hospital.

I would like to see the officers and nurses and doctors held accountable for all the pain and suffering they cause.

I have been in TCU for almost two months now and noticed that they try to move African Americans out quickly no matter their medical condition. I would like to see the Department of Corrections give African Americans equal care and everyone the basic care they need as human beings. 

If the prisons can’t treat people like human beings and give them basic medical care, maybe it’s time to rethink prisons. 

Stephan Holmes is in MCF Oak Park Heights in the Transitional Care Unit.

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