People locked up in prison have a constitutional right to receive reasonable medical care for those afflictions from which they may suffer. Our firm has successfully handled several such cases (but we don't do work in Michigan; check with the Michigan Association for Justice or Michigan Trial Lawyers Association).
If your wife is being denied medical care, she may have a cause of action under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code. A lawsuit under this section can be brought in either your local state courts or federal court. Prevailing on this lawsuit, even to a nominal degree, entitles your attorney to an award of fees and costs.
You should consult with either an attorney whose practice emphasizes personal injury and/or civil rights litigation. A local community legal clinic would probably be able to assist you as well.
When a prisoner becomes ill or suffers an injury they are entitled to receive the same medical treatment as any other patient. The fact that a person is incarcerated is not an excuse to deny them proper medical treatment or provide them with substandard treatment. The law recognizes several possible causes of action when a prisoner does not receive the proper medical care. These causes of action range from constitutional violations to state law medical malpractice claims.
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects prisoners from cruel and inhuman punishment. Case law which has interpreted this provision has held that deliberate indiference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. In order to prevail on a claim alleging violation of constitutional rights resulting from inadequate medical care, the prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Medical malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely because the victim is a prisoner. Thus, a complaint that a physician has been negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not state a valid constitutional claim under the Eighth Amendment.. That indifference is manifested by prison doctors or guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with treatment once it is ordered.
Cases alleging deliberate indifference are brought in the United States District Court for the District in which the medical negligect occurred. Federal procedural law allows the claimaint to also assert state law medical malpractice negligence claims as an alternate theory of recovery in these cases.
Prisoners may also bring claims for medical malpractice in state court against the prison facility and/or medical provider. These claims are governed by the procedures and law of each state (which may vary). Some states require that a prisoner file an administrative complaint before allowing the case to proceed to state court.
Regardless of the specific cause of action, these cases require the testimony of expert witnesses who can review the medical care and determine if that care was improper. It is also often necessary to retain experts in prison medical procedures to prove that the guards did not follow the appropriate protocols in rendering medical care to the prisoners.
look up mpas.org and call their office. The Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service is a nonprofit that advocates for people with disabilities, including those who are incarcerated, and they will help.
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