January 26, 2023, Pittsburgh: The Abolitionist Law Center is demanding that the Allegheny County Jail provide immediate medical care for Denzelle Kendrick, a medically vulnerable individual currently incarcerated at the facility.
Mr. Kendrick has suffered his entire life from sickle cell disease, which often results in severe episodes of pain that can develop into seizures, stroke, and death if untreated. Dr. Ines Kanandra reportedly discontinued Mr. Kendrick’s prescribed pain medications in August 2022, leading to numerous such pain episodes for Mr. Kendrick. In total, he reports approximately 30 such episodes and 6 seizures since he was transferred to ACJ in July 2022. In all of these instances, correctional staff and/or medical staff have, at best, an extremely delayed response. Often, there is no medical response at all.
“The jail is withholding medication for his life threatening illness that he was born with, Sickle Cell,” said Cadiadra Kendrick, mother of Denzelle Kendrick. “I had to watch a YouTube where three medical emergencies were called and no medical aid was rendered while my child was unresponsive. This is totally neglectful.”
The videos Cadiadra Kendrick describes were uploaded by another incarcerated individual, James Byrd, and depict an incident on or around December 4, 2022 wherein Mr. Kendrick requested to be seen immediately by medical staff due to feeling on the verge of an impending sickle cell pain episode. He was ignored by medical staff until his situation had become so severe that he had to be taken out in a stretcher, despite laying on the floor of his cell unresponsive for over an hour.
“It is concerning that, but for the leaked videos, we would never have learned of Mr. Kendrick’s situation,” said ALC Staff Attorney Dolly Prabhu. “It’s clear that ACJ appears more focused on punishing anyone who makes them look bad rather than providing anything resembling adequate medical care. There are, undeniably, countless others with similar experiences who the public will never hear about.”
Due to the grossly inadequate medical response in these incidences, and the jail’s failure to provide Mr. Kendrick with his prescribed medications, we sent the attached letter to Warden Harper’s counsel, an assistant county solicitor, on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, demanding appropriate care moving forward and an investigation into Dr. Kanandra’s conduct.
See below for the full letter with additional details.