Medication Denied

Authority Prince George Regional Correctional Centre

Don had mental health problems for which he was getting help from a specialist. When he was convicted and given a custodial sentence, Don became concerned that his treatment would be discontinued.

Don talked to his specialist about obtaining treatment in prison. She assured Don that necessary medications prescribed by specialists continue to be dispensed during incarceration – he had nothing to worry about.

The correctional centre’s doctor did not concur with Don’s specialist regarding the appropriate treatment for his condition. Don’s medication was discontinued upon admission.

As Don’s condition deteriorated, he asked the correctional centre for his medication many times without success. The doctor’s word was final. Eventually, Don came to us. We investigated immediately due to the nature of his concern.

Given that Don’s medication was one typically prescribed only after diagnosis by a specialist, we asked whether it would have been reasonable for such a specialist to have also made the decision to discontinue. At this point, we also determined that medical staff at the centre were concerned that Don was showing troubling symptoms of his condition.

We discussed the matter with the BC Corrections Branch which agreed Don should have been referred to a specialist and identified a pattern of medications being routinely denied to inmates upon admission at this correctional centre. Unfortunately, by the time the branch took corrective action, Don had already been transferred to a federal penitentiary – still without his medication.

The branch agreed to write to the penitentiary to ensure that health care staff at the penitentiary were aware of Don’s need for a referral to a psychiatrist and had access to relevant medical information concerning Don’s mental health. The branch also agreed to write to Don and apologize for what had occurred. We confirmed both letters were sent and closed our file.

Category Corrections, Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2015
Location The North