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Sean Swain: How Buckingham Medical Made Me A Potential Death Statistic

A message by imprisoned comrade Sean Swain.

Originally published by SeanSwain.org.

Sucks to be me.

Back in early February, I got the flu. I hugged the toilet for two days.
Terrible. In the midst of it, a staffer witnessed me puking and insisted I go to medical.
At medical, I was seen by Nurse Amy Starkey who told me I didn’t have a fever despite the sweat pouring off of me… in February. She listened to my lungs and didn’t hear the sludge that was broiling in there. She suggested I had food poisoning– which would only make sense if all eleven hundred of us were puking… since we all eat the same shit.

Medical did nothing for me. Nothing. I shambled back to my cell, an hour older and a lot more annoyed.
So, early March, when I still had the gurgling sludge in my lungs, I signed up for sick call. I wanted to get that cleared up before the zombie apocalypse arrived at the prison gates, since people with preexisting conditions sputter out at a far greater rate than those who don’t have them.

I got called back to the medical clinic. Nurse Amy Starkey again. I told her I had pneumonia in 2012 and it felt like this lung sludge only more intense. She listened to my lungs and documented the congestion, then got up and left. A few minutes later, she returned. “The Nurse Practitioner says its normal to have that kind of congestion up to eight weeks after you get over the flu.”
I don’t know if the nurse practitioner said that or not. If the nurse practitioner said that, they both need fired. Medical did nothing for me at all.

Days later, another prisoner (who shall remain nameless) told me he had a prescription for an antibiotic. It’s the same antibiotic given to me when I had pneumonia. He let me take his pills.
So, for several days, I took antibiotics. By the time I finished what he gave me, my lungs were clear. Clear. And that means the sludge in my lungs was a bacterial infection, since the antibiotics got rid of it.
Three days after the antibiotics ended, the sludge started coming back.
So, I currently have a bacterial infection in my lungs and I have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting medical personnel to get me the antibiotics I need to shake that off before COVID 19 hits here. And
that’s all bad for me.

I can’t use the grievance process because I’m not an “offender” as defined by the rules; I don’t have a conviction in Virginia. And even if I could use it, I’d be dead before I was ever vindicated.
I want to live through this. So, my “play nice” promise to Virginia be damned. Anyone reading this should feel free to contact Buckingham at (434) 983-4400 . Either Warden John Woodson or Assistant Warden Jeffrey Snoddy are here each day during normal business hours. Ask for one, and he’s not there, ask for the other. Feel free to fax this update to them, (434) 983-4017 . Attach your demand that they do something to clear my infection now.

Sean Swain, April 3, 2020


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