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Kentucky Prison Doctor Fired For Allowing Inmate To Starve To Death

A doctor in a Kentucky prison was fired after a report found that an inmate who starved to death did not receive proper medical attention. 

The doctor, Steve Hiland, was found to have taken an inmate who had been refusing food off a hunger strike watch because he had begun drinking tea. The inmate, James Kenneth Embry, ultimately died of starvation because he had been routinely refusing meals. The Kentucky Department of Corrections requires any inmate on a hunger strike to have his vital signs checked at least three times a week while undergoing consultations with various medical professionals. 

According to RT, Embry was serving the final three years of his nine year drug-related sentence when he began refusing his anti-anxiety medication. He subsequently began engaging in erratic behavior, including ignoring meals and dropping a significant amount of weight. Despite Embry slipping further and further into a depressive state, he was denied additional medication after meeting with a prison psychologist. 

That psychologist, Jean Hinkebein, has been placed on administrative leave from the prison with her dismissal pending. Another medical staff member is expected to face similar repercussions for the role in Embry’s death. 

Hiland, however, maintains that he is unconnected to any malpractice that led to Embry’s death. Instead, he believes the prison was looking for a way to fill his job contract in a cheaper manner. 

"I never saw this guy, never met him," Hiland said of Embry, according to the Huffington Post, "I was convinced it was a way to get rid of me. I was told I should have known about it." 

 

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