by Mumia Abu-Jamal
These two photos, taken only two years apart, the one on the left in 2013 and the other in 2015, show the ravages of Hep-C.
Just a few hours ago, I placed a call to my civil lawyer, Bret Grote of the Pittsburg-based Abolitionist Law Center.
I could hear the excitement in his voice. “Did you hear the news yet?” he asked.
Then he told me that the judge – U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani – granted our motion for a preliminary injunction, ordering heath care staff on the DOC’s Hepatitis Care Committee to cease their unconstitutional protocol in my case and to begin treatment of my hepatitis infection with direct-acting antiviral medications.
While it’s certainly good to win, I thought of the good, hard work by Bret and his colleague, Bob Boyle, who rumbled in court. I thought of the many people who filled two courtrooms because of the organizing prowess of Sis. Pam Africa, Dr. Suzanne Ross, Dr. Johanna Fernandez and others who made it happen.
I thought of Dr. Joseph Harris, MD, who, as an expert witness, hushed the courtroom by his intricate medical explanations, which made scientific arguments so clear that anyone could understand. Moreover, when he explained my symptoms and tied it together, I shall never forget the tremendous sense of relief that I finally had something that none of the doctors, either in the infirmary or at Gelsinger Medical Center, could provide: a diagnosis.
And I thought of thousands of men and women in Pennsylvania prisons suffering from the unforgiving ravages of hepatitis C – and now, who had new hope.
I thought of the prisoners who also suffered from Hep C, and were denied treatment by the DOC – and died, choking on toxins that their liver could no longer expel.
They did not live long enough to see this day.
© Copyright 2017 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. His new book is “Writing on the Wall,” edited by Joanna Hernandez. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932. This commentary was written Jan. 3, 2017.