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a logo for Bruised Behind Bars with handcuffs over one of the letters
  • Writer's pictureJennifer Emmi

December 11, 2023

On December 6th, I was seen by two nurses here at Fluvanna. They found that I had high blood pressure and my heart rate was slightly elevated. I have NEVER had high blood pressure in my life. Both Nurses, Lubben and "Ms. B" were very concerned, had me fill out a health services request for an urgent appointment and said they were escalating my case. I have also been experiencing fevers for the last couple of weeks rather consistently, also on the healthcare record at FCCW.


I was given an EKG last week due to chest pain and pressure and my vital signs were all elevated then and Nurse Lubben also was there for that procedure. To date, I have not seen a medical provider despite the nurses' growing concerns and alerting medical staff of the same.


In August (2nd and 29th), Dr. Sharon Sheffield, the medical director at Fluvanna stated that "it is her medical opinion that I be released as my medical care can not be provided in prison." She also told me point blank that I will never get my IVIG treatment at Fluvanna and I will never get the care that I need. She told me that she was meeting with the administration an sharing her opinion.


I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance in August due to heart issues. I have never had my port cared for or even flushed at Fluvanna. The hospital staff wanted to leave my port accessed to get fluids and Fluvanna medical staff said they do not possess the expertise or equipment to take care of the port. My port should be accessed and cared for very regularly and goes directly to my heart, the right ventricle and atrium. I am having pressure and pain in my chest, have not had my port even checked or cleared since August at the hospital, and no one seems to care enough to do anything. To add insult to injury, they told me if I wanted any care, I must walk a great distance uphill to the clinic today with my walker and with presenting heart issues. I asked for a wheelchair to get there and I was denied a wheelchair to mobilize.


This is what really happens in prison with healthcare. This is what we really face when we have a serious health issue. I need to get to my medical team. I was transferred to this facility illegally and I am being kept here as what feels like a hostage since I should have been released quite some time ago. I could be experiencing endocarditis, or an inflamed heart, which could lead to cardiac arrest or even death. Yet, I am ignored here at Fluvanna like so many inmates before me. I have been allowed to catastrophically decline over the last few years in prison, been beaten, and raped and no one has been held accountable. All that remains now are the scars and my voice trying to get medical care now.

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