Life Inside

by AVA News Service, January 5, 2012


On October 24, 2011, I was taken out on a medical transport to San Joaquin hospital and the following took place.

We were transported with a set of leg irons and a chain around the waist that goes in between your legs and then is hooked by what they call the block box which fits over the handcuffs and which is cinched tight against your body so you can't move your hands at all nor can you twist your wrists whatsoever. Then we are put in what is well known as the dog kennel in the back of a van and then transported to wherever we have an appointment at a very high rate of speed.

I can attest that the trip is one fast rough ride that no one in their right mind cares to do if they can avoid it at any cost.

Just so you know, there were four inmates that day going to the same hospital in one van but for reasons that the state is NOT broke there were four transport vans that went on that trip that infamous day of my “Hell I have fallen and I can't get up” trip. There were also eight officers, two in each van that went to the same place with us but not one of them had a single inmate in their vans. We got to the hospital and one officer held my arm because it is almost impossible to walk when one is bound and chained up this way. But I can attest that it is impossible to walk in this contraption.

They tossed all of us into a room at the hospital that is part of the Sheriff's holding wing of the hospital which has three thin, short benches. This is where the big fall took place off of one of those benches. I was sitting there for some time and decided to lay down. Needless to say, as I dozed off I felt myself falling and tried to catch myself. With my hands chained tight to my groin area, I could not stop myself from falling less than 8 inches from the bench to the ground. Unfortunately the chain around my waist was at my hip and I felt it snapp and it hurt. It really hurt — just so we have that clear from here on out. Okay?

As I laid on the floor moaning and groaning like a sissy, the other inmates started hollering for the corrections officers saying that a man (me) had fallen and needed help. As they came in the door they thought the scene was a big joke and ordered me off the floor. I told them I knew that something had broken and that I was suffering. They could see that I was starting to go into shock so they got a gurney and were just going to toss me on it until I protested and a hospital nurse informed these correctional officers that they needed to get a backboard to remove me from the floor. They were bummed out that they could not just toss me on to the gurney. So they rolled me over onto the backboard and off to the x-ray unit we went. Lo and behold, my left hip was broken. Then they took me out to the inmate hospital room.

By now it was October 25 and they did surgery on my hip installing three screws. I spent one day in recovery at the hospital then the following day they brought me back to good old Mule Creek State Prison, again at a very high rate of speed on the back country roads.

Lots of things have happened and not happened since that day. Here are a few things that stick out in my mind that I'm sure will interest someone out there.

For pain medication they gave me Vicodin for a couple days and finally they provided me with morphine for seven days. They took me off of all my other pain medications stating that they don't issue that stuff. I went nine days without a bandage being changed because they said they did not have an order to change it and they would not touch it without an order. After nine days I got up the courage to change it myself and I got very sick from the smell and looks of it. It was very bad. It was black and green and where they installed the staples it was the worst. But I cleaned it as best I could with some pads I had and then I used a 6” x 36” ripped up sheet for a bandage. It was really bad, believe me. But now the six staples are out and it is healing up nicely believe it or not. I have still not yet seen a doctor since I returned from the hospital.

For those of you who want to know: yes, it still hurts all the time and the nurse says I don't need any medication.

Wish me luck with the rest of my endeavors here at the happiest place in the Department of Corrections.


Mark Sprinkle


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