Friday, April 12, 2013

Medical Facility at Butner Federal Correctional

Friday, April 12, 2013

4:19 a.m.

In four hours I will be on my way to Butner Correctional Medical Facility (BCMF), in Durham, North Carolina

Usually, and surprising to most people, I have very little anxiety about entering a correctional facility, but this one is different.  My mind has been racing all evening into the early morning hours.  I can’t sleep and the thought of entering the facility brings me to the brink of tears.

I can pretty honestly say, I have been a wreck most of night.

BCMF will be an all around different experience.

Here, is where many of the inmates at Butner Federal Correctional will relocate if they become seriously ill or are dying.

The thought of someone spending their last days slowing dying in a cold, lonely place is incredibly disheartening.  There are some inmates who might qualify for medical parole, but that is not the majority of cases.

I have read several articles written by nurses who care for terminally ill inmates and the overwhelming consensus is that while they are undoubtedly compassionate for the victim’s of the offender’s crime, the inhumane way of dying alone, without a loved one, without the very basic need of our human element: connection is a very sad reality. (Note: most nurses who wrote about the conflicting compassion expressed intense guilt for such compassion towards the inmates. (This shaming is sad and unfortunate.).)

This may be a touchy subject for some. Some will have little sympathy for these terminally ill patients.

Let us dare to ask though, how we would want our loved one: our son, daughter, father or mother to spend their last moments before dying? Alone? Scared?

Absolutely not.

Can we not afford incarcerated patients  equal worth?

I ask that we all try to be mindful and carry a compassionate, open heart.

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