I saw Mumia for an extended visit this past Thursday, May 28. Mumia seemed much better able to handle a four hour visit than he had been when I last saw him, and had I not had to leave, it would have been an even longer visit. He was still in a wheel chair because his swollen feet and legs make it very painful to stand. Despite this pain he makes sure to walk at least a half hour a day. Though thin because of the huge weight loss, he looked a lot better than when I saw him about a month ago. He has gained some weight but is still way below his weight prior to getting ill. He is eating a great deal, ate much more than usual even during my visit, is still given a diabetic diet, and feels his body is trying to recover from the huge skin and weight loss. His face and right hand are completely clear. The rest of his body is not but the itching and pain are mostly gone.
Mumia spoke energetically and his mood was very positive. He spoke of how close to death he had been. Had there not been an international outcry about the lack of appropriate treatment, in fact AGAINST the “treatment” that was bringing him so close to death, he was sure he would not be alive today. He continues to be very grateful for the love and support he has received for several months now, and expresses graphically how he could feel it in the air. Once again, he was in awe of our movement, its power and effectiveness.
I had greeted him at the inmates’ entrance to the visiting room because I could see him struggling, recognizing his shower sandal covered foot sticking out into the visiting room, and went over to help him manoeuvre the wheel chair in. Even a small thing such as getting through a doorway with a large wheelchair is not made easier by the prison staff. By contrast, Mumia spoke of the extraordinary kindness and gentleness of the inmates who help him with ordinary activities such as bathing in the infirmary.
Mumia remains in the infirmary. He continues to get the therapeutic baths prescribed for his skin problem. He is no longer taking ANY medication for the diabetic symptoms he had developed. Yet his sugar level which he monitors daily is in the 80’s suggesting that the so called medical “care” he had gotten at the infirmary had brought on the diabetic crisis. Once the medication was discontinued he seems to have recovered significantly from that aspect of his illness.
The big news, which Mumia told me with great relief as soon as he walked in, was that the prison doctor had just told him, as he was coming out into the visiting room, that the biopsy results were all negative! This was cause to celebrate … but with caution.
I say BIG CAUTION as all the reports Mumia is now getting are based on the prison doctors’ oral diagnoses. They are interpreting the hospital reports, and neither Mumia nor his wife, lawyers, or consulting doctors have been given the actual medical reports. The Department of Corrections is refusing to hand over these reports, claiming that they don’t have to do so because the case is now in litigation unless forced to by the courts. The health risks of not sharing the extensive hospital reports which were based on extensive testing are considerable as it is impossible for Mumia’s private doctors to advise the prison doctors on how to treat Mumia without having those full reports. This is one of the demands we must make immediately: RELEASE THE HOSPITAL RECORDS TO MUMIA, HIS WIFE, AND HIS LAWYERS so that they can immediately be shared with Mumia’s private consulting doctor. It is absolutely outrageous, and in violation of the Department of Corrections’ own regulations, to withhold medical records and reports from the client, his closest kin, and his lawyers. It is clearly dangerous to Mumia’s health for the DOC to be denying Mumia’s basis rights on this issue of medical record availability. Mumia’s lawyers have already challenged this latest threat to his medical care. We will keep you informed as we get additional information. In the meantime call and e-mail the DOC and demand that Mumia’s hospital records be released to him, his wife, and his lawyers immediately
We have definitely made some progress, but we have a long way to go. We still have no diagnosis of the diabetic picture, no diagnosis of the skin problem, and no diagnosis of the extremely swollen feet and legs. And, we have no hospital records. Most important, Mumia remains in prison where he cannot fully recover nor get the kind of care he needs. He never should have been in prison in the first place, but he surely should be released now.
For Mumia, for justice, for all our political prisoners,