Allegheny County Jail inmate will get blood treatment
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Allegheny County Health Department Director Bruce Dixon said today that a man with a rare enzyme condition who has spent two months in the Allegheny County Jail without treatment will get the needed care by week's end.
"The treatment, which is phlebotomy ... will take place no later than the end of this week, if I have to administer [it] myself," Dr. Dixon told Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Edward J. Borkowski at a hearing. "I can find no real reason why [the treatments] haven't taken place."
Dr. Dixon was in court for a hearing on a petition to modify the sentence of Joseph E. McCartney, a repeat drunk driver who suffers from porphyria cutanea tarda, which causes painful sores and harmful iron build-up in his liver. Mr. McCartney, 54, of Brackenridge, and his attorney, Charles T. Clark, warned the jail health staff beforehand that he would need biweekly removal of blood, called phlebotomy, to control iron levels, but in two months of incarceration he has not gotten the treatment.
Judge Borkowski said "society is well served" by both Mr. McCartney's incarceration, and the provision of medical care.
After the hearing, Dr. Dixon said he's "not sure exactly why he didn't get the treatment as expediently as he should, but the problem will be solved."
"It's sad that it came to this level, but with Dr. Dixon's personal involvement, I trust that my client will receive the necessary medical care," Mr. Clark said after the hearing.
First Published June 13, 2011 10:20 am