An inmate dies of cancer detected late in prison, his relatives plan to file a complaint

An inmate dies of cancer detected late in prison, his relatives plan to file a complaint

The open prison of Casabianda, in Corsica – STEPHAN AGOSTINI / AFP

The man had complained of significant pain as early as August last year. He spent until December before he was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer.

“I wonder if there is equity in care in prison. Clearly, there, that was not the case.” It has been a month since Catherine lost her partner, Thomas (the names have been changed). The latter, imprisoned in the Casabianda prison, on the eastern flank of Corsica, was struck down in less than a year by cancer that spread to many parts of his body, including his brain.

Today, Thomas’ relatives are convinced of this: the difficulties he encountered in receiving adequate care in prison precipitated the deterioration of his health.

“My friend paid for a failure with his life,” Catherine laments, with a lump in her throat, to

The pains appear in August 2021

The bulge occurs in August of last year, at the height of his chest. In the Casabianda prison medical unit, it is believed to be an inflammatory problem, says Catherine. “They told her that it could be related to the Covid-19 vaccine, because she had just received her second dose.”

But as the weeks go by, the size increases and the communication between the prisoner and the medical unit seems to be broken. In mid-September, an ultrasound revealed several lumps while blood tests showed the problem was not inflammatory. Despite his complaints, Thomas is only prescribed Doliprane and Tramadol, a drug belonging to the opiate family used to relieve pain.

“I could no longer write, hold the pen correctly. But they told her that the care was complicated to carry out, where she was, ”continues his companion.

Transferred to hospital four months later.

With the International Prison Observatory (OIP), which transmitted Catherine’s testimony, a doctor states that “the lack of response to treatment and the size of the lymph nodes identified in the ultrasound should have led to rapid additional examinations, potentially a biopsy “.

However, Thomas is once again only prescribed painkillers. Between August and December, the size ranges from 6 to 20 centimeters. “When I went to see him, he explained to me the place of his pain in his daily life. When I saw him in December, I was amazed at the state of him, ”recalls Catherine. He evokes the notes that his partner took. “He recorded everything, his pain, his anguish, his recipes.”

Finally, given the urgency of his state of health, Thomas was transferred at the beginning of December to the Interregional Security Hospital Unit in Marseille, four months after the appearance of the first lump. There, after a biopsy, he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer that progressed very rapidly.

“I was sick and nothing was done”

Catherine and the family of Thomas, who has only a few months to live, then fight to ensure that he has the chance to return to his family. On December 30, the sentencing judge granted his request. Therefore, it is in her house that she succumbed, on July 21.

Today there is only anger and misunderstanding among his relatives. “He was sick, worried. He proved it, and yet nothing was done, ”laments his partner. “He’s coming out of detention and hearing he only has a few months to live. He hasn’t even been entitled to a pardon.”

“Is it a failure of the State? Of the doctors? Of the detention center?” He asks himself again.

If “nothing is formalized”, Catalina plans to initiate a judicial process: “We know that it will not bring him back but we would like it to be known, that consciences be heard. We do not want anyone to have to go through that again.” Contacted this Friday, the Casabianda prison management did not respond to our request for an interview.

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