Covid-19: Nurse decries lack of inmate care at privatized Florida prison

Covid-19: Nurse decries lack of inmate care at privatized Florida prison

USC Keck nurse protesting
Keck Hospital in Los Angeles. Nurses are still protesting unsafe working conditions during pandemic.
Video Still, KNBC, Los Angeles

Cathy Talbott of the People’s Tribune interviewed a nurse who wishes to remain anonymous who worked for the Florida Department of Corrections before the Covid-19 pandemic became public news.

“I worked in the prison system [prior to the government’s acknowledgment of the Covid-19 outbreak in this country] which is being privatized, too. And I got sick. Nurses that work for prisons are hired by corporations. Masses of inmates require diabetic and coronary care but they’re not making it public how many inmates have Covid. Shouldn’t the community know? Nursing homes and prisons are now being mandated to report [the numbers] but we have a Republican government that doesn’t really care [this was prior to the Nov. election]. Like Florida, we have Governor DeSantis and Senator Rick Scott who ripped off Medicare funds before becoming governor and now he’s a senator. It’s always about the money and that’s a sad thing.

“In the prison I had to bring in my own PPE. The people in charge of the facility were hiding PPE in their offices. We only had two doctors for an entire prison. Before Covid, we shipped out patients to hospitals but now we have to isolate them for fourteen days. How do you treat 1800 inmates with only two doctors? How do you test them appropriately without the staff to do it? And if a prisoner is shipped out to a hospital, the corporation isn’t making any money on him. It’s always about the money!

“So we’ve gone from giving individualized care to throwing pills at them. That’s not nursing to me. I see the frustration in every single nurse I know now. So now we just let them die? That’s sad.

“At this point in time, we need help. Bring back our military troops. Get them out of foreign wars and let them rebuild our healthcare infrastructure because we’re at war here with Covid. These guys can deal with infrastructure. In Maryland, we had to have the National Guard protect our PPE! We need a strategic defense plan to deal with this crisis. Make it a time of peace.

“We need mandatory masking or it’s ‘game over.’

“These corporations are taking over everything. Corporations are not ‘persons’ but are treated as persons with rights under the 14th Amendment. They have billions of dollars. They should be taxed and quality healthcare should be available to all.”

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