Earlier this year the New Orleans Times-Picayune published an explosive series on Louisiana’s status as the world’s prison capital. Now there’s more damning information on the injustices that happen inside of those prison walls. The paper reported late Sunday that 60 percent of the state’s prison doctors have been disciplined by Louisiana’s medical board for issues ranging from pedophilia to substance abuse.
Here’s more from the Times-Picayune:
Louisiana state prisons appear to be dumping grounds for doctors who are unable to find employment elsewhere because of their checkered pasts, raising troubling moral questions as well as the specter of an accident waiting to happen. At stake is the health of nearly 19,000 prisoners who are among the most vulnerable of patients because they have no health care options.
About 60 percent of the state’s prison doctors have disciplinary records, compared with 2 percent of the state’s 16,000 or so licensed medical doctors, according to data from the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. The medical board is aware of the prison pipeline — in fact, a board-employed headhunter has sometimes helped problem doctors get prison gigs.
“Aside from being unethical, it is dangerous,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, a physician and director of health research at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen told the Times-Picayune. “You’re winding up having people who don’t have any choice being where they are, getting taken care of by people with demonstrable previous records and problems with the way they practice medicine.”