Friday, September 5, 2008

Cook County Sheriff Blames Fagus for Mess

"You might have recently heard about horrific conditions that allegedly exist at the Cook County Jail," wrote Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Yes, we've heard of the mess over there, and we're all horrified by it. Dart's missive appeared in the Huffington Post on August 14. "Maybe you read about unsanitary conditions, a culture that allows for excessive use of physical force and an inability to meet even minimum constitutional standards for inmates," Dart wrote. Those "unsanitary conditions" are at least partly the responsibility of Cermak Health Services of Cook County. Cermak provides health services to Cook County Jail facilities, but too often at a Third World level of quality. The COO of Cermak is David Fagus, friend of 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore and the 49th Ward Democrat Committeeman. Fagus is a well entrenched Chicago Machine politician who eagerly endorsed Todd Stroger, Rod Blagojevich and fellow Chicago Machine politician Barack Obama. Dart throws blame at Fagus, with naming him, by saying that "criticisms should be directed at Cermak Hospital and those in control of the Cook County Bureau of Health Services." Yes, COO is a person in control. In theory, at least. While I take full responsibility for problems identified within the confines and control of the Cook County Jail, it is important to note that there are numerous portions of the report covering medical care that unfairly blur the line between "Cook County Jail" and "Cermak Hospital." Likewise, more than 80 percent of all inmate grievances filed with our office regularly fall under the auspices health care. Again, our office has no control over Cermak Hospital's budget, employees, health care operations or strategies on care. Those criticisms should be directed at Cermak Hospital and those in control of the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, not our office. David Fagus is the COO of Cermak Health Services of Cook County. Cermak provides health services to Cook County Jail facilities, but too often at Third World levels of quality. DRAIN FLIES and DAVID FAGUS: Excerpts from the July 11, 2008 Department of Justice letter to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart give interesting clues [emphasis added]. (Full document as a PDF or plain text .) "IAD also reported a backlog in resolving use of force cases and incidents involving inmate-on-inmate assaults because it is difficult to obtain medical releases from Cermak, CCJ's on-site health care provider, in a timely manner." "Obtaining medical IAD is under the Sheriff's Office while Cermak is part of the Cook County Bureau of Health. [Obtaining] records from Cermak can take anywhere from six to 12 months, which prevents IAD from bringing prompt closure to an investigation. This type of delay is totally unacceptable, and is devastating for any investigation." "Despite having Cermak physicians treat these serious dental emergencies, inmates continue to suffer needlessly because they do not receive appropriate follow-up care." "...staff involved in the inmate grievance process are frustrated that once a medical or mental health related grievance is referred to Cermak, a response is not forthcoming.... We reviewed numerous grievance files that alleged the need for medical services, some of an emergent nature that showed a referral to Cermak, but contained no actual response to the grievance." "Drain flies are small flies that are found in shower and toilet areas where they lay their eggs in gelatinous organic matter that builds up under the rim of toilets and in floor drains. These flies were noted in several of the divisions including the Cermak medical area where fly traps were being used to capture adult flies. Outbreaks of adult flies have been associated with bronchial asthma in susceptible individuals. Their presence is also a sign of inadequate housekeeping and sanitation." FULL DOCUMENT as a PDF or plain text .

Moore, Fagus, Obama all want nationalized health care. Judging from the nightmare of government-run health care in Cook County, they are either blind to the horrors or selectively choose to ignore them. Power, for some, trumps compassion.

RELATED: Judge fines Cook County Jail in lawsuit addressing living conditions What Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Should Do Cook County Sheriff Defends Jail Progress Illinois Feds Give Fagus 49 Days to Turn Around Decades of Patronage-Fueled Mismanagement The Coming US Health Care Nightmare Cook County Federal Takeover? The Coming US Health Care Nightmare