Strange Illness Prompts Suit for Mumia Abu-Jamal

     SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) – The hospitalization of Mumia Abu-Jamal for a mysterious medical condition has spurred a federal complaint from the imprisoned cop-killer’s attorney.
     Abu-Jamal is serving life in prison at a Pennsylvania state correctional institution in Mahoney for the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
     Flawed jury instructions led a federal appeals court to nix Abu-Jamal’s death sentence in 2008, and the inmate has reportedly gained international support on claims that he is a victim of a racist judicial system.
     Bret Grote, the former Black Panther’s attorney with Abolitionist Law Center, filed a federal complaint Monday against prison superintendent John Kerestes and the Geisinger Medical Center
     He says Abu-Jamal has been suffering from “a variety of medical issues” that surfaced in August 2014.
     No cream has managed to slow down a skin rash that covered 70 percent of Abu-Jamal’s body by February 2015, and the inmate is still awaiting a diagnosis despite suffering an episode of nearly fatal diabetic shock in late March 2015.
     In addition to two infections from the skin rash, and abnormal blood work, Abu-Jamal had an allergic reaction to one of the antibiotics he was prescribed, according to the complaint.
     Lower-extremity and general edema has also allegedly made it difficult for Ab-Jamal to walk.
     After his diabetic-shock episode in March, Abu-Jamal’s release papers indicated the following medical issues: “diabetes, new onset, encephalopathy secondary to hyperglycemia, dehydration, acute kidney injury, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, asymptomatic gallstones, skin rash, anemia and a history of hepatitis C,” according to the complaint.
     Abu-Jamal has not talked to his attorneys since May 9 and he has not been allowed any visits, being “prevented by the hospital and the PA DOC from his constitutionally protected access to the courts and counsel,” the complaint continues.
     The Abolitionist Law Center states on its website that Abu-Jamal has been denied all communication with his attorneys since being held “virtually incommunicado” at the Geising Medical Center on May 12.
     Neither Abu Jamal’s attorneys or his family “are aware of what medical tests or procedures have been conducted on Mr. Abu-Jamal while he has been at Geisinger,” the complaint states.
     Attorneys say Abu-Jamal’s treatment includes the drug cyclosporine, “despite the fact that it is contradicted for an African-American of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s age who has sudden-onset diabetes.”
     Prior to the filing of this most recent action, Grote says he was hired to advocate on behalf of Abu-Jamal for appropriate medical care.
     “Since that time,” according to the complaint, “the main effort has been trying to get DOC to administer appropriate tests in order to reach a diagnosis that would explain the myriad of serious symptoms experienced by plaintiff Abu-Jamal.”
     According to the complaint, defendants “prohibited all communication between Mr. Abu-Jamal and anyone, with the exception of one 15-minute phone call between him and his wife, Wadiya Jamal, who has been authorized by Mr. Abu Jamal to receive any and all medical information.”
     “Neither the DOC nor Geisinger Medical Center have provided any justification for the total prohibition on communications,” the complaint states.
     The Abolitionist Law Center wants the court to issue a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order granting Abu-Jamal visitation with his attorneys and wife.

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