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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is ICE aka Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They get the award for the following.

In a stinging ruling, a Los Angeles federal judge said immigration officials' alleged decision to withhold a critical medical test and other treatment from a detainee who later died of cancer was "beyond cruel and unusual" punishment.

*****

Castaneda, who suffered from penile cancer, died Feb. 16. Before his release from custody last year, the government had refused for 11 months to authorize a biopsy for a growing lesion, even though voluminous government records showed that several doctors said the test was urgently needed, given Castaneda's condition and a family history of cancer, Pregerson said.

But rather than test and treat Castaneda, government officials told him to be patient and prescribed antihistamines, ibuprofen and extra boxer shorts, the judge wrote in a decision released late Tuesday. In summary, the judge wrote, the care provided to Castaneda "can be characterized by one word: nothing."

He first informed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement medical staff at the San Diego Correctional Facility on March 27, 2006, that "a lesion on his penis was becoming painful and growing," the judge wrote. The next day, a physician assistant at the facility examined Castaneda and issued a treatment plan calling for a consultation with a urologist "ASAP" and a request for a biopsy, according to government records cited by the judge.

Over the next 11 months, several doctors, with increasing urgency, made the same recommendations. For example, after conducting an examination June 7, 2006, Dr. John Wilkinson, an oncologist, wrote a report saying he strongly agreed that Castaneda had an urgent need for a biopsy and an assessment by a urologist because he might have "penile cancer. . . . In this extremely delicate area . . . there can be considerable morbidity from even benign lesions which are not promptly treated."

That same day, Pregerson said, Dr. Esther Hui of the Division of Immigration Health Services acknowledged Castaneda's condition but said the government would not admit him to a hospital because her agency considered a biopsy "an elective outpatient procedure."

You can read the Judge's ruling here. This passage is particularly enlightening.

Official records document Defendants' circular logic that because they would not allow him to have the biopsy, "he DOES NOT have cancer at this time"; because he does not have cancer, he therefore does not need a biopsy. (Id. Ex.8.) In other words, as long as they could label Castaneda's condition elective, Defendants could remain willfully blind about his lesion and avoid having to pay for its treatment.
A man died of cancer, and moronic bureaucrats working for our immigration system helped cause it to happen. ICE failed to provide Mr. Castaneda with needed medical care while he was in their care, and that is why I name them today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Immigration Prof. Blog


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Comments (8)

It makes me sick to think o... (Below threshold)
Candy:

It makes me sick to think of anyone going through something like this.

That's pretty sad.... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

That's pretty sad.

Next time we should buy the guy a new home, television set, new car, and give him a job, plus medical benefits, so he can get the care that he needs.

Otherwise, anyone who dies of cancer that decided to try and enter into the United States illegaly will be the fault of the United States Government.

If they would have only just paid thousands of dollars to help cure this man's cancer, he might not have died.

It's all of our fault. When will we get Hillary Care?

This has always been found ... (Below threshold)
Patrick:

This has always been found against the 8th amendment you cannot refuse health care to prisoners.

Baggi, basic common decency... (Below threshold)

Baggi, basic common decency required that the government help this man. His residency status was irrelevant.

Government shouldn't force ... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Government shouldn't force "basic common decency" on anyone. That's how we wind up with totalitarian governments.

If the Church, or an NGO, or an individual wants to behave with basic common decency, good, that is how it should be.

The Governments job is to deport the guy. Not cure his cancer.

This cancer can be treated ... (Below threshold)
epador:

This cancer can be treated sucessfully with chemoRx, surgery or radiation in varying combinations depending upon the stage, often sparing the organ. Its a real nasty way to die if it isn't treated or is resistant to treatment. Successful treatment in an underdeveloped country would likely be radical surgery, with no male equipment left after the treatment.

I'd favor treating him and deporting him. Even if you could prove that he entered the country solely to receive medical treatment and he knew he had the lesion before coming here, just perform the penectomy and as soon as he's healed send him home. Gotta cost less than all the legal and incarceration costs we laid up. And a Whole lot less than the legal mess Immigration is in now.

Plus when he got back home, and told all his friends they put him in jail, cut off his penis and then sent him back home...

Baggi, because he was in cu... (Below threshold)

Baggi, because he was in custody, he was not able to get treatment for his disease. What he was arrested for was not a death penalty offense. Basic decency says, you feed, house and treat people who are your wards. Or at least, let them get their own treatment.

That's right, because he wa... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

That's right, because he was in custody he was not able to get treatment for his disease.

Or because the man was drunk, he plowed into a car and killed a bunch of children.

Or because she was a prostitute, she contracted aids.

etc.

Bad things happen to people in life. Many times it is because of the actions they take prior to those bad things happening.

It's time people started to take responsibility and stop blaming others.




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