Ricardo Alvarez, MD
724 Peralta Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94110
April 14, 2021
To: Medical and Administrative Staff at SCI Mahanoy Contracted Hospitals
My name is Dr. Ricardo Alvarez. I am a physician licensed in the state of California and Mumia Abu Jamal (AM 8335) has designated me as his medical consultant and has properly filled out form 108. For several hours there has been intensive efforts to communicate through proper channels through the legal and the medical teams to get an update on Mumia’s health as there was a dangerous lapse in communication. We have just learned that Mumia has been transported for cardiac surgery although the full details of his care have not been properly communicated.
I am writing this letter to clearly communicate that Mumia cannot be shackled in the course of his hospitalization and that Mumia be allowed to call his wife and his spiritual advisor Mark Taylor before surgery and have full access to medical and legal consultations as soon as possible after surgery.
It is absolutely essential that we understand the danger of shackling for Mumia and other prisoners. This communication will be forwarded to the relevant medical staff of the hospitals contracted with the PA DOC to provide ethical and compassionate care for all incarcerated persons and all our incarcerated elders. While we will be respectful of the safety concerns of medical and correctional staff, routine shackling of every prisoner can never be an acceptable practice and perpetuates harm and would never meet standards for Mumia.
As Mumia’s medial consultant I am alerting you that there is significant evidence, both legal and medical, that Mumia has suffered severe harm as a result of medical, legal, law enforcement, and judicial professionals who have not met proper standards. Mumia has been recently hospitalized for COVID and Congestive Heart Failure and he already suffers from hypertension as well as liver cirrhosis and diabetes, both induced by court documented medical neglect. Mumia suffered severe police brutality the night of his arrest and at this point any evidence of shackling will be seen as a deliberate harm to Mumia and a perpetuation of court documented trauma he has already suffered.
It will be necessary that all medical providers who provide care to Mumia, the medical directors of the various disciplines, including the cardiologists, nurses, anesthesiologists, hospital administrators and the medical director of the hospital engage with their medical ethicists and any other consultants to communicate directly with correctional staff at the hospital and with the PA DOC as necessary regarding concern the direct harm that shackling will do to Mumia.
A broad range of medical professionals with expertise in various disciplines will be reviewing the records as we have in the past and as guided by Mumia’s permission. We know that the extensive training and expertise of medical professionals can provide the gift of extending life with surgeries that were unthinkable a few generations past. We are now asking that we engage in our promise to provide compassionate care for the incarcerated persons who have suffered from great harm. Allow Mumia contact with his loved ones, medical, and legal counsel and do not allow him to shackled.