Suit: SC failure to test inmates for hepatitis C is ‘cruel’

March 13, 2018, 4:39 pm EST | Share:

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina inmate says the state’s prisons agency is subjecting inmates to cruel and unusual punishment by not testing them for a potentially fatal liver disease.

Attorneys for Russell Geissler filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing the South Carolina Department of Corrections of violating inmates’ rights by not testing them for hepatitis C.

The Corrections Department says about 600 of its 19,000 inmates have hepatitis C, which can lead to weakness, pain, liver cancer and bleeding. But Geissler’s lawsuit says the figure is likely closer to 6,000 and the department is “deliberately indifferent” to the medical needs of infected inmates by not testing them.

Corrections officials didn’t immediately comment on the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status.