Over the course of my training, I’ve taken care of many incarcerated patients in the perioperative and intensive care settings. The overwhelming majority of them are humbled by their illness and incredibly grateful for the care provided by treatment teams. Unfortunately, everyone in the hospital knows they are incarcerated. Whether it’s the deputy police officer sitting beside them, or the handcuffs chaining them to their hospital bed, cross-hairs are drawn on these individuals as they move from one area to another.
Yes, I understand that hospital policies are in place for the safety of healthcare workers. However, let’s show some compassion. As a physician, it’s my job to stay neutral regardless of the crimes these individuals have committed. I will not project emotions towards any individual under my care, and I will uphold the same commitment to their safety and wellness as any other patient.