Cassandra tells her story below.
Please share with anyone you know who has a loved one in TDCJ.
♥ Send some love Cassandra’s way in the comments. ♥
GIVE YOURSELF THE CHANCE TO SAY GOODBYE. [My experience happened in the Texas state prison system.] ASK YOUR LOVED ONE TO SUBMIT AN i60 TO GO TO MEDICAL AND SIGN A HIPAA PAPER. Have them put your name on it and sign it ASAP. The prison will think you are silly, and that the inmate is healthy and doesn’t need to sign one BUT THEY DO! And make sure it is signed and updated every 6 months!
My husband Christopher went into the prison system 10/05. We had not even had our first phone call yet and were communicating through letters. On 11/01 the TDCJ website said he was at an off-site medical facility. I freaked out and called the prison. They told me because he didn’t sign a HIPAA form they couldn’t tell me a single thing. We were married for 6 years, and I even had a strong Power Of Attorney written out and signed before he went to prison. It did not matter, they could not tell me anything. I called every single day, crying, thinking my husband got jumped. The warden and office began to get irritated with my calls and would tell me “Ma’am, quit calling the office. He is O.K. and nothing is wrong. If it was life threatening we would call you. Quit calling the office.”
On 11/06 I made my daily call and the office told me that the warden was going to the hospital to get him to sign the HIPAA paper in person. I asked, “Thats odd, and doesn’t sound like his job duty, why is the warden going himself?” her response was, “He likes to pay his respects.” That’s a weird response.
Four hours later while I was in the middle of making my husband a get well soon card the warden called me. The first words out of his mouth were, “Your husband is dying fast from cancer and you need to fly back to Texas soon.” The messed up part of all of this is HE KNEW MY HUSBAND HAD A DEADLY CANCER SINCE 10/27! He was getting his new inmate blood work done, they saw his blood looked weird, and sent him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They should had given him a HIPAA paper to sign the day he was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors begged the warden to call family because his cancer was deadly and he may not survive. THE WARDEN ONLY CALLED ME WHEN HE NEEDED A DNR SIGNED AND DIDNT WANT TO BE THE ONE TO SIGN IT.
The next day I flew in and he had emergency brain surgery. He looked so swollen. He was still in a coma, My kids didn’t get to say goodbye. He didn’t get to at least look at me one last time. The doctors said if I would have come a few days earlier he would have been able to see my face for at least 15 seconds.
I spent the next two days with my husband until I took him off life support, while I was watched by two guards, one who was laughing about the previous night’s basketball game — laughing and joking while my husband was struggling to breath.
Have your loved ones sign the paperwork. They could be seemingly healthy one second, and dying of cancer the next. He had no symptoms, my husband was healthy and strong. Don’t risk not having the chance. Get it signed.