Opinion/Editorial: Medical standards still not fully met at Fluvanna prison | Editorial

This finding is infuriating, and the stories told by inmates are — as they have long been — heartbreaking.

The present compliance monitor, Dr. Homer Venters, does find evidence of progress.

“Overall, I believe that the tremendous amount of work and review conducted by the prior monitor and the FCCW team has created an environment of improved care and transparency,” he said. “In particular, it appears as if the pace and skill of internal auditing has increased in the past two years.”

Among those improvements are the work being done by the new medical director from UVa, the teamwork exhibited by medical and security staff, and the prison’s “quite strong” response to the COVID-19 challenge.

Among the problems is denial of care due to paperwork problems or apparent incompetence — echoing cases previously documented in the lawsuit.

Vetter cited one case in which a woman was sent to a mental health unit, where staff “attribute[ed] her physical illness to a mental health problem for an extended period of time.” When the inmate finally was sent to a hospital, she needed surgery.

In another case, a woman was denied care because of her physical disability, which staff apparently did not seek to accommodate. By the time she made it to a hospital, she was suffering from “life threatening complications of her chronic health problems,” Vetter said.