Doctor talks about the ills of prison
Former prison medic Dr Raymoth Notice says that the effects of Graves' disease, which is currently afflicting dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel, can be exacerbated while an individual is locked up.
Recently, Isat Buchanan, the entertainer's attorney, said that his client was suffering from Graves' disease, which is an autoimmune illness, and was locked away in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day following the discovery of cell phones on a block where he was being housed at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingston. Notice pointed out that solitary confinement can "deteriorate one's health mentally and medically", as he explained that prisons, by their nature, are not the healthiest of environments.
"In fact, any medical disorder can deteriorate in short order if they are not attended to. However, I think now there are screenings of inmates before they are affected in the institutions. Where the breakdown comes is that there seems to be no regular monitoring of inmates who are not charged. In other words, those that are in jail, and many times they enter the bigger penal institutions with conditions that deteriorate because of the breakdown of systems," he said.
In a statement, the Department of Correctional Services said that the deejay was not on lockdown, but was confined to his cell. Notice also pointed out that despite its potentially serious effects, like causing a hyperactive thyroid which in turn can affect organs like the heart, Graves' disease sufferers can have positive outcomes.
"The good thing about Graves' disease, even though it has the word 'grave', is that it can be reversed. With proper investigation and proper treatment, it can be reversed. Based on my medical knowledge it can be treated successfully. If it is not treated properly, it can cause a few complications," he said. Buchanan said that Vybz Kartel picked up an infection from the lockdown, and that his health was deteriorating. He said his client's neck was swollen more than usual, and that his eyes were protruding a little bit more. He also said that it was clear that Vybz Kartel was under stress when breathing.
"It is not common in our penal institutions, of course you do have persons with other types of hyperactive thyroid gland disorders like goiter, but usually persons will present with the swelling in the neck ... persons at first may seek treatment for other conditions. But if you look carefully at their eyes and they appear bulgy, we would order an ultrasound because sometimes it is very small," Notice said.