Critical Breakdown

Special Assignment this Sunday at 21:30

This week on Special Assignment we investigate why a sick prisoner with an easily treatable medical condition developed life-threatening health complications in prison.

In 2010, after allegedly struggling for almost a year to get proper medical treatment for painful hemorrhoids inside Johannesburg Prison’s Medium B-section, inmate Lungisa Livingstone Jadula says he was eventually sent to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto where, he claims that without his knowledge or consent, a part of his colon was removed and the remainder left hanging outside of his body. The hospital has since admitted that they have lost his 2010 medical records.

After his surgery, Jadula was sent back to a communal prison cell where he has had to fight off deadly infections in an overcrowded, unsanitary environment. His lawyer, Austin Okeke, says it has been an uphill battle to get his client the on-going medical treatment he requires.

In 2012, Special Assignment produced two exposés on sick prisoners that, similar to the case of Jadula, revealed a critical breakdown in a working relationship between prisons and state hospitals. The implementation of new medical parole laws in 2012 was meant to smooth the road for sick inmates like Jadula, but prison and health authorities continue to shift the blame on to each other.

Medico-legal expert Adele van der Walt, says that prisoners, despite having their movements restricted, have the constitutional right to proper medical care. In light of this, we ask, who is responsible for the timeous and proper medical treatment of sick inmates?

Watch Critical Breakdown produced by Adel van Niekerk on Sunday at 21:30, SABC 3.

Contact Special Assignment: 011 714 5419

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