Welcome to the Wrongful Death & Injury Institute
Welcome to the Wrongful Death & Injury Institute’s (WDI) website. We are a consulting firm that fights for the lives of those who are sick, dying or who have died within the U.S. jail and prison system. Our expertise is in jail and prison policy and procedures, prison health care policy and procedures, and death issues within the U.S. jail and prison systems, hospitals and nursing homes across the country. Sadly what happens to inmates in this country happens to the elderly in nursing home and assisted living settings as well.
The problems we deal with are multifaceted and center on medical and mental health care delivered to this country’s inmate population. That health care is delayed, denied and misrepresented in pursuit of cost containment. Thousands upon thousands of inmate patients incur permanent medical disabilities or die due to these aggressive cost containment measures.
- Broken bones are ignored and not set
- Stage IV wounds are not treated
- Diabetes is grossly mismanaged
- Heart conditions are treated with Maalox
- Doctor encounters not granted
- Cancers are treated with Robitussin
- Amputations are performed due to gangrene
- Medications are withheld for no reason
- Wrong medications are given
- Implementation of “cold rooms” as punishment
- Blindness results from untreated brain tumors
- Death by overheating a common occurrence
- Asthma becomes a death sentence
- Staph infections are treated as the flu
- Medications administered by correctional staffers
- Mental health drugs are denied or manipulated to punish behavior—behavior resulting from a lack of the very medications that cause the behavior.
Death certificate cause and manner of death are not accurately assessed; what one actually dies of is not researched or investigated and sub-standard state ordered autopsies are the norm not the exception. This pattern of health care is not new; it’s been in place since the 70s and has become increasingly worse—not better. Regardless of the thousands of news articles written, investigative reports showcased and videos that surface of these medical abuses, the situation has not improved nor is it likely to do so in the future, for very specific reasons.
Comments made by families and attorneys involved in lawsuits that the size of any settlement and outcome must force a city and/or a Department of Corrections to re-examine how inmates are protected and treated is far from the truth. Comments such as this give an autobiographical sketch of one’s lack of knowledge of the system overall and how it works individually and collectively with the other players involved. Equally ridiculous are comments made by families and attorneys that “they want to be sure nothing like this ever happens again.” While the sincerity may be real, the reality is it’s going to keep happening—again and again. Just as it has been happening for the last 30+ years. Any monetary settlement a family may receive does nothing to positively change the system and how it operates. What will occur is a tightening up by the DOCs and contracted health care providers of their policies and procedures and elements of their contracts with local and state governments to close the loop-holes and gaps that caused medical issues and death events to take place in the first place.
These permanent medical disabilities and death events are going to continue to take place. Loved ones will keep suffering. Loved ones will keep dying. No change will actually occur until families step up and do what needs to be done on behalf of that inmate. There is much they can do, should do and—don’t do.
The goal since the 70s and continuing on to today is only one: that of cost containment. And that is aggressively and relentlessly pursued and achieved by giving the façade of adequate health care without every providing it. We call it channelized and sanitized heath care delivered by Teflon tactics. The sooner families and inmates wrap their head around that reality the better equipped they will be to actually effect some meaningful change and obtain the health care their loved one is in need of.
We consult with families one-on-one. We educate them about the system, what needs to be done, should be done and can be done on behalf of the inmate, and provide the necessary tools to get it done. There is a learning curve involved for the family. Learning how to fight for the life of a loved one takes commitment and time.
We are constantly reviewing and analyzing records always with an eye on the possibility of needed litigation and ready to recommend attorneys qualified in this highly specialized area of law who have expressed to us an interest in reviewing these cases. We provide litigation consulting for attorneys in these areas as well as, referrals and recommendations of highly qualified expert witnesses in multiple disciplines.
It’s absolutely necessary for families to understand that when they have a loved one “locked up” it’s their responsibility to understand how that system operates—not how they believe it operates but how it actually operates and what they should be doing and—not doing. It is their responsibility to have key documents in place—but not just any documents, and it’s their responsibility to understand what should be done in case of death before it happens.
Said another way, that family member has to be the “CEO, President, Secretary & Treasurer” of that “Inmate, Inc.” because that inmate isn’t going to be able to do what needs to be done on his or her behalf because the system is not going to allow them to do so. Families need to learn to play chess instead of checkers when it comes to prison health care and correctional issues that are co-mingled with that health care delivery. Failure to do so guarantees that you’ll be playing Russian roulette with the life of your loved one. And on reflection, that’s a gamble most families wish they had never taken.
Ideally, we want families contacting us before their loved one is headed into jail or prison to ensure correct documents are in place, information is given to the family and the inmate, and a sustainable strategy is put in place on behalf of the inmate to ensure survival. We want families of those who are already in the system to contact us for the same reasons and for the help we know they need now on multiple fronts.
We’ve been doing what we do for over 20 years and there is a common denominator running through every heath care problem and death. And that is this: Families are clueless on how to handle problems when health care is not being adequately provided and they are clueless on how to handle the issues surrounding a death. And when they are clueless they talk to correctional and medical staff when they shouldn’t make serious mistakes and bad decisions that have grave consequences.
Families are overmatched by a system that feeds off of their continued ignorance and they are under-gunned because of a lack of knowledge, understanding and information and how to apply all three. The Institute wants to change that. And the way we accomplish that is through our consulting services that we provide. Our guess is that families whose loved ones have died would have preferred to know how to get the help and care that their loved one needed rather than have that loved one delivered to them in a body bag. Any blood money received as a result of litigation effects little to no change. Sub-standard prison health care is preventable. These prison deaths are preventable. You just have to know how to get it done. And countless numbers of you—don’t. That’s what we’re here for. To save lives. To help you fight for the life of your loved one.