Quadriplegic’s Care Disputed 

Quadriplegic’s Care Disputed 
Posted by FoM on September 14, 1999 at 09:06:04 PT
Mother contends prison is jeopardizing his health 
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
LYNCHBURG -- A quadriplegic charged with violating conditions of his bond while appealing a drug and firearms conviction has been sent to prison, and his mother says his health is in jeopardy. 
Patricia Theodore said her son, Christopher Tucker, spent Sunday lying in his urine at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt without any medical care. “It is a horror story,” she said. But Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said Tucker has been seen by staff on a regular basis and is doing well. “He is in the infirmary,” Traylor said. “He has been seen by a Department of Corrections physician. He seems to be adapting well.” Theodore said she spoke to Tucker on Sunday night and he told her he had been lying in bed in his urine all day. He had not been catheterized all weekend, she said. Nurses told Tucker they could not catheterize him without a note from his physician, according to his mother. Traylor said he could not comment on the specifics of Tucker’s care, but said he had no reason to believe there was any threat to the inmate’s health. Theodore said that’s not the case. She claims no one bathed her son all weekend and that he hasn’t had proper basic care. Theodore said she learned her son was taken to the hospital yesterday afternoon for treatment she said he should have received Friday. Theodore said Tucker has been using a wheelchair since a car accident three years ago. He has to be dressed and catheterized three times a day and cannot get in and out of bed alone. Anthony Spencer, an associate of the attorney who represented Tucker in his drug case, said his firm is seeking a hearing this week before Lynchburg Circuit Judge Richard S. Miller to get Tucker released while his appeal is pending. “Because of his medical condition, it is perhaps even a life or death situation,” Spencer said. “The question is, ‘Should his bond be revoked?’” Tucker, 25, was charged with possession of marijuana Aug. 16 after police raided his apartment on Alabama Avenue and found what authorities said was a small bag of marijuana. “We got a tip about activity at the house,” said Lt. Jerry Stokes of the Lynchburg vice unit. Because Tucker is accused of violating his bond, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette wrote Miller a letter Aug. 18, asking him to issue a warrant for Tucker’s arrest. Tucker was arrested Sept. 6 and incarcerated in Lynchburg. On Friday, he was sent to Greensville. Blue Ridge Regional Jail Administrator Chris Webb said nurses at the local jail could have provided adequate care for Tucker for a short time, but as a courtesy to his mother, they allowed her to come in and catheterize him throughout the week. Webb said he did not hear any complaints from Theodore. He said jail officials were planning to send Tucker to a local hospital Friday if the Department of Corrections had not taken him. Webb said Tucker is a state prisoner because he allegedly violated bond while on appeal. Theodore said her son needed to be hospitalized Friday because of bowel problems. Instead, Tucker found himself on a three-hour ride to Jarratt. Tucker had been free on bond since August 1998, when he was sentenced to three years in prison for possession of a firearm while intending to distribute marijuana. His appeal is pending before the Virginia Supreme Court. The conviction stemmed from a raid on Tucker’s apartment on Ramsgate Lane in November 1997. Police reported finding cocaine, marijuana and three guns. An additional 270 grams of cocaine were found outside his apartment in a motorcycle compartment and at the base of a downspout, they said. Miller dismissed cocaine distribution charges against Tucker, saying it would be too difficult to get to the cocaine, but convicted him of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine and possession of firearms. When Miller sentenced Tucker, he suspended four years, but said he could not suspend the mandatory three-year firearm conviction. Theodore told the judge that if her son were allowed to stay out on bond pending appeal, she and her husband would see that he behaved. Shannon Brennan is a staff writer at The News & Advance in Lynchburg.Tuesday, September 14, 1999BY SHANNON BRENNANMedia General News Service © 1999, Media General News ServiceRichmond Times-Dispatch 
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