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Black Diabetic Dies After Missouri Jail Withholds Insulin

Last week, I shared the experiences of Phillip Baker, an advocate for diabetic prisoners:

I only got into this because I’m a retired PA. I thought I might be able to help that first diabetic by using my training to advocate for him. The American Diabetes Association was consulted, and they became aware of what I was doing. They asked me to check on several other inmates who had reached out to them. It was all pro bono and informal, but the stories I can tell of deliberate indifference and callousness would curl your hair!

Sadly, it seems these cases are disturbingly common. Raw Story’s Bethanis Palma Markus reported today on the case of Michael Robinson, a Missouri man who died after jailers refused to provide his insulin:

Michael Robinson was arrested Friday on a warrant for unpaid child support, local KFVS reports. Robinson was a diabetic that needed insulin shots at least twice a day. He was taken to Pemiscot County Jail, where his family says he begged jailers for insulin but was denied until he became so weak he couldn’t hold his head up.

Robinson’s cousin, Brig Feltus, posted a comment from his sister saying that she believed Robinson was placed in solitary confinement to keep him quiet, because he was loudly saying he needed insulin.

“Brig I just heard that my brother was asking the jailers that he needed to go to the hospital and he was yelling and begging. They put him in the hole to keep him quiet. The didn’t get him out again until his girlfriend came to visit. So sad, I’m hurting.”

Family members told KFVS that Robinson was taken to the hospital early Sunday evening and died hours later.

Feltus posted that at the time of his death, Robinson’s blood sugar level had skyrocketed to 2,500. The normal range, depending on when a person has eaten, is between 80 and 180, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Family of diabetic black man says he died after a jail refused to give him insulin

Thanks to @LghtningStrikez for sharing this story.

Have you heard stories of prisoners denied medication? Share your experiences and links in the comments below.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and Occupy.com.