Mumia: Hepatitis C gets a knockout punch! – Update: DOC appeals, the struggle continues

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia-2013-040615, Mumia: Hepatitis C gets a knockout punch! – Update: DOC appeals, the struggle continues, Behind Enemy Lines
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.

I hadn’t.

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.

The DOC appeals

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several days ago, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections appealed the Jan. 3 U.S. District Court ruling that granted an injunction against the DOC’s so-called “protocol” covering hepatitis treatment – or should I say lack of treatment?

The state waited almost 10 days to file an appeal saying they didn’t have the time needed to obey a court order that gave them two weeks (14 days) to begin the process.

They also ignored the court’s order that the DOC was enjoined from using its “protocol.” They continue to use it, as if no court order was ever issued.

If that ain’t contempt of court, what can it be called?

The state violates constitutional rights daily – because it can. What’s another court order?

To them, it ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

From the very beginning, the DOC has spit in the eye of the judge. They’ve filed false documents. They’ve made misleading claims. They tried to intimidate him.

Why should they now be any different?

And yet, the battle goes on to save the lives of thousands of prisoners in Pennsylvania dungeons.

© Copyright 2017 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at His new book is “Writing on the Wall,” edited by Joanna Hernandez. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit 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.

This is Part 1 of a demonstration outside the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections on Jan. 13 led by Joanna Fernandez of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.

Part 2, includes police interraction

Part 3