I have had the displeasure of witnessing official designs to murder by medical neglect the prisoner housed in the cell next to me here at Red Onion State Prison (ROSP). His name is Charles Coleman #1399215.

Charles, a 35 year old Black man, has two types of advanced heart disease: 1) left ventricular non compunction and 2) Wolfe Parkinson-White disease. These conditions are the result of abnormal development of his heart and leave him in constant danger of suffering massive heart failure or cardiac arrest. As a result of these conditions he routinely suffers unconsciousness, mild heart attacks, erratic and racing heartbeats, abnormal blood pressure, etc. all life threatening conditions if not contained and stabilized.

In specialized medical efforts to monitor his heart and treat his conditions Charles has had three major surgeries and is set for a third.

His first two surgeries were to implant a loop recorder, which is a machine that monitors his heart activity. It is essentially a surgically implanted 24/7 EKG device. Whenever Charles suffers one of the above episodes like unconsciousness, mild heart attack, and other complications, he has to be rushed to a hospital where his loop recorder is connected to machinery only available in major hospitals with cardiac units that reads his heart’s recent activity and status and informs hospital staff what care he may need to hopefully ward off or stop a massive heart attack or heart failure.

His third surgery was an oblation which is a procedure that burns off abnormal parts of his heart. His upcoming surgery will be a second oblation.

His condition and use of the loop recorder require that he remain at all times in close proximity to a major medical center with staff and equipment capable of reading his loop recorder and treating his heart condition and any potential crises. His treatment and surgical team are located at MCV which is in eastern Virginia.

On the morning of November 2, 2023 Charles was notified that he was to be transferred from Sussex 2 State Prison (SX2) where he was then confined to ROSP in the far southwestern region of the state, where he knew there was no major medical facility available to treat his condition or read his loop recorder. At SX2 the warden T. Darton, the Health Services Administrator (HSA) and security chief Eric Brown all had the responsibility per VDOC policy to make sure that prisoners being transferred have no health conditions that preclude their being housed at the prison they are being sent to. Despite this duty they devised to allow him to be transferred to ROSP on the opposite side of the state from MCV where his heart diseases, emergency alerts and attendant health needs could not be monitored or treated.

In fear for his life Charles barricaded himself in a medical cell on the morning of his planned transfer and repeatedly protested his medical needs and the inability to meet them at ROSP to defendant Brown. Brown refused to heed his concerns and confronted Charles with force to remove him from the cell and compel the transfer to ROSP. Brown had him shot multiple times with projectiles from a high powered gas gun, and sprayed with lethal quantities of tear gas and not decontaminated.

Ultimately Charles came out of the cell and was immediately transferred to ROSP where, as he knew and protested, there is no available major medical center used by the VDOC or ROSP that could treat his heart disease or quickly respond to his frequent cardiac emergencies.

In an effort to compel the transfer and cover up their wrong, Brown and he HSA had Charles transferred to ROSP without his medical files or medications. Among his numerous prescribed meds is a “per requested need” nitroglycerine prescription which is needed to help his heart recovery whenever he suffers one of his frequent episodes of heart arythmia, mild cardiac arrest, etc.

I witnessed him go about a week without his heart medications and predictably fall unconscious and suffer cardiac emergencies several times. On Nov 6, 2023 he fell unconscious and unable to breathe had to be rushed to a small local medical center. The center was so small and under-equipped they could not read his loop recorder nor conduct a needed stress test, which they were instructed to perform upon calling his heart team at MCV.

He did not see a provider at ROSP until November 14, 2023, a nurse practitioner J. Holbrooke. At that time she informed him that he should not be housed at ROSP because his medical needs could not be met there nor at the small local medical center. I’ve heard numerous ROSP medical and administrative staff tell him his. Despite these admissions he has not been removed from ROSP and assigned to a facility where his medical needs can be met.

And not only is Charles’s confined where he can’t receive needed care for his acute heart disease and frequent cardiac emergencies, but day after day he is subjected to conditions of torture on top of staff provocations that keep him on edge: deliberate stress that predictably would trigger major heart trauma and cardiac episodes. Charles has been confined since being a ROSP in a completely empty solitary confinement cell with no property. The effects of which are well known to constitute torture and cause the most extreme stress. Then he is routinely denied his meds and forced almost daily to argue with nurses about his life and death need or them. Often to no avail. Many days I find myself talking him through these events in efforts to keep him calm as medical staff and guards take the opposite position of antagonizing and provoking him.

I witnessed on the night after Thanksgiving, Charles was suffering and complained of chest pains. A nurse named Tibbets took over an hour to come to his cell, and once there he did nothing except tell Charles to mail a request form to the medical department.

Charles very well have been having a heart attack. The nurse didn’t care and blew him off without any assessment as medical protocol requires with ANY prisoner complaint of chest pains. In Charles’s case, we’re talking about someone with severe heart disease. The medical staff here aren’t just content to let him suffer without needed care, they sit waiting for nature to run its course and Charles to suffer the inevitable cardiac episode that there is no available medical help to respond to. Murder by medical neglect.

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!


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