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Prisoner Education Guide

Pennsylvania Prison Medical Firm’s Performance Called into Question

Dr. Edward Zaloga, co-owner of Correctional Care, Inc. (CCI) of Moosic, Pennsylvania, a firm that provides medical services at the Lackawanna County Prison, had his past called into question when a female prisoner was forced to give birth alone in her cell after her pleas for help were ignored.

While the County Correctional Board apologized for the July 10, 2007 incident, the prisoner, Shakira Staten, filed a federal lawsuit against the prison, Zaloga and CCI for cruel and unusual punishment. The Board blamed Staten’s treatment on “serious errors of judgment” on the part of a nurse. The nurse was later fired and the prison adopted new policies for dealing with pregnant prisoners.

The lawsuit dredges up Zaloga’s past, when he was fired by Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Services, another prison medical care firm, in Sept. 1999. While he was employed with Wexford, Zaloga had disagreed with the introduction of a new hepatitis C treatment protocol as “wasteful of taxpayers’ money” because it was yet unproven. It was also expensive, and the amount that Zaloga claimed the money he saved Wexford contributed to the company’s alleged $4 million in profits at the time. Zaloga sued Wexford for wrongful termination, but lost.

Although Staten’s lawsuit is still pending against CCI and other defendants, Zaloga was dismissed in a January 29, 2008 court order because the complaint did not allege his personal involvement. See: Staten v. Lackawanna County, U.S.D.C. MD Pa., Case No. 4:07-cv-01329-JFM; 2008 WL 249988.

On the same day that Zaloga was dismissed from the suit, Pax Christi of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a faith-based advocacy group, released a report about inadequate medical care provided by CCI at the Lackawanna County Prison. The report, based on interviews with 16 current and former prisoners, cited deficient medical intake screenings, medication being dispensed sporadically, delayed responses to requests for medical care, and insufficient prenatal care for pregnant prisoners.

The report cited a specific incident in which one of the units was locked down and the medical history of a prisoner who had filed a medical-related grievance was read over the intercom for all the prisoners to hear.

Dr. Zagorin could not be reached for comment on the report.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune

Related legal case

Staten v. Lackawanna County


 

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