Saturday, July 2, 2011

Prisoners Start Hunger Strike & Communicate Grave Concern for Medical Care

July 1st, 2011: The hunger strike began today with strength and solidarity within the Pelican Bay SHU. The rate of participation exceeded the strike organizers’ expectations. In unit D1, the first unit for which we know the numbers, 43 out of 52 prisoners refused their food. The remaining 9 are older or ill prisoners, who the organizers advised not to participate.

The men on Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay are worried about the medical situation, particularly Dr. Sayre. The prisoners are “horrified at the inevitability that this man will be directly responsible for our care once we reach the depths of the strike.” Bryan* [the prisoner] was talking about questions the men have about the rally on the 9th in San Francisco and then says:

They [the other hunger strikers] also really wanted me to press our concern regarding “Doctor” Michael C. Sayre, “M.D.”. We think it could be helpful for you [outside supporters] to look into the Dept. of Health Professional Licensing Services Medical Investigations Units, Confidential Investigative Report, prepared for the Medical Disciplinary Board, Case #92-11-0022MD. On 7-7-92 an inmate at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary sustained a fractured right ankle and Dr. Scott Hutson scheduled him for surgery. In short, Michael Sayre was the anesthesiologist at St. Mary Medical Center and ended up being directly responsible for the inmate’s death. According to hospital Quality Assurance reports (pg 83), mechanical ventilation of this patient did not occur because the machine was never turned on resulting in severe hypoxic cerebral damage. This story was reported on in the [Walla Walla] Union-Bulletin as well on Sun., Sept. 20, 1992. The victim was Leonard Stephens.

It would also be diligent to ask Coalition members if they have any information on Sayre’s involvement in the forced feeding of a mentally ill man here [at Pelican Bay] which drew a complaint and if they have a copy the declaration of Everett D. Allen M.D. (?) Believe me when I tell you that any person who cared even in the slightest about basic human decency would be shocked at two or three of these complaints but the totality of it all floors me that this man still works in health care.

We’re horrified at the inevitability that this man will be directly responsible for our care once we reach the depths of the strike. But I personally will not be deterred from my commitment to prove to this administration that I’ve taken my last meal under these conditions, as of the 1st, even if it means almost certain physical abuse and disregard of humane care at this man’s hands. All I can do is hope that your voice at that point is heard. It could really make the difference we’ve discussed. But I’m not fooling myself….this will be brutal. Soft handed or hard….

*Bryan is in the hunger strike for the duration, totally committed.


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