The Bay View urges our readers to sign the petition being circulated by the movement to free world-renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and call the officials listed at the bottom of the petition
Eyes: Passing of a healer
by Mumia Abu-Jamal
The name Dr. Patricia Bath is perhaps unfamiliar to you, as it was to me just a few days ago; but a colleague shared obituaries from several newspapers, and I could only be moved by the extraordinary life and achievements of Dr. Bath.
She earned her medical degree from Howard University Medical School and began her internship in the neighborhood of her birth: Harlem.
For most of her professional career, she worked as an ophthalmologist (or eye doctor) and as a scientist she developed techniques and equipment designed to treat and relieve glaucoma and cataracts in her patients.
In 1988, Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, a device that removed cataracts and which she also, incidentally, patented. Her work returned vision to people who had been blind for decades.
Why write about the life of Dr. Patricia Bath? Because she was a medical pioneer – a Black doctor who brought relief, light and sight to people across Black America and beyond.
But there is another reason.
Several months ago, I was diagnosed by an ophthalmologist with having glaucoma – and cataracts. I was stunned by this news!
A month ago, my eyesight deteriorated so badly that I couldn’t read a book – or a newspaper.
Thus, the news about the life and passing of Dr. Patricia Bath naturally caught my attention.
Dr. Bath reached 76 years of life before returning to her ancestors.
Today, I await treatment.
© Copyright 2019 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. Mumia’s latest book is “Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, Book One: Dreaming of Empire” by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Stephen Vittoria and Chris Hedges, published by Prison Radio in 2018. 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.
Petition by Mobilization for Mumia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
To Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso and Dr. Courtney P. Rodgers
Mumia’s vision has rapidly deteriorated. It has been confirmed that Mumia currently suffers conditions that seriously threaten his eyesight. These include glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. This threat seriously jeopardizes his life and well-being, as well as his journalistic profession.
An outside eye doctor is recommending surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes, but SCI Mahanoy Dr. Courtney Rodgers is delaying scheduling the needed examinations and surgeries with Mumia’s outside ophthalmologist. Rodgers works for Correct Care Solutions, a notorious for-profit prison and immigration detention medical company that, according to the Project on Government Oversight, has been sued at least 1,395 times with complaints alleging a range of charges, including wrongful death, malpractice and inadequate healthcare.
Meanwhile Mumia faces increasing nerve damage to his eyes. He is unable to read or do other things requiring normal vision. This delay echoes the years of delays Mumia experienced getting treatment for hepatitis C. By the time the Department of Corrections was finally forced by federal court to treat Mumia with the hep C cure, it was too late to prevent cirrhosis of the liver.
African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop cataracts than the general population and five times more likely to develop related blindness.
Not only is his overall health deteriorating as he is threatened by permanent blindness, his failure now to receive the immediate attention he requires is cruel and unusual punishment, especially as an innocent man who has been unjustly incarcerated for almost four decades.
Furthermore, considering his multiple ailments and the threat of blindness, we demand that Pennsylvania officials allow a real and humane “compassionate release” now, not the “fake compassionate release” of transfers from prison to care facilities that Pennsylvania will only grant when a prisoner is within a year of dying. Mumia’s family, friends and supporters are ready now to provide the healthcare Mumia requires if he were home.
Mumia is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on the health of those ageing and ill behind prison walls. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, over 130,000 of U.S. prisoners are elderly, a 400 percent increase between 1993 and 2013. Mumia himself has noted the significant number of those confined at his own prison who suffer similar life-threatening illnesses that require immediate attention.
Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives without any “compassionate release.” Once again, as we fight for Mumia’s right to treatment and for his release, we fight for the freedom of all the imprisoned from mass incarceration’s cruel and unusual conditions.
Mumia Abu-Jamal should receive cataract surgery immediately!
Mumia should be released now not only because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison but also because he is an innocent man!
1. Sign the petition, at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/emergency-appeal-for-mumias-health.
2. Call Dr. Courtney P. Rodgers, at 570-773-2150, and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso, at 570-773-2158. Tell them to approve Mumia’s cataract surgery immediately.
3. Call Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, at 717-787-2500, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, at 717-728-2573, and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, at 215-686-8000. Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!
Visit Mobilization 4 Mumia at https://mobilization4mumia.com/.