View Full Version : #143 Richard Keech -- "The Doctor has Orders To Ship Me Out"

12-08-02, 01:34 PM
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Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 09:39:01 EST
Subject: #143 Richard Keech The Doctor Has Orders To Ship Me Out

#143 Newsletter
December 8, 2002
ęCopyright 2002
by Richard Keech

Editor's note:

There is absolutely no valid reason, medical or otherwise, for CMC to transfer Richard to another facility. There are many elderly inmates in his quad and he has become well adjusted to this prison. He has never caused a security problem and has always treated the staff with respect and a pleasant demeanor.

His insistent requests for medical attention for his WWII military disabilities, however, have apparently upset some of the medical staff. Admittedly, they are overloaded with the demands of a crowded institution. But what the CMC staff does not apparently understand is that an octogenarian like Richard, especially with his POW experience, cannot tolerate the same threatening manipulation used to keep younger inmates "in their place." For him it becomes "excessive punishment" which has no place in modern America.

CMC is one of the best prisons in the state system from the standpoint of both the physical layout and the professional staff. Some of the most notorious felons ever convicted in California have been allowed to stay here for long over a decade-why not Richard? The following two letters tell a disturbing story. Nov 26, 2002 Tuesday THE DOCTOR HAS ORDERS TO MOVE ME OUT Dear friends, this could be one of my last trip reports. Let's make it a good one. The doctor, you see, tells me I must leave CMC. I've enjoyed the life here.

The food has been good. The hills behind us are now green and beautiful. I am still able to walk around our quarter mile track 8 times a day. I get regular visits from my family and friends. All of this is over now, according to my doctor. I was called to his office today to hear why. "I received your letter" the Doctor A. announced, as soon as I sat down. He's received a number of them and has never mentioned it before. His announcement this time is intended to warn me he has reviewed it with his boss. (The new acting warden I would guess.) "You asked in that letter that I renew your "medical chronos."

(My permanent disability had "expired.") "After a review of this (with his boss) I have decided the only way I can help you is to ship you out. I have been warned that it is at my risk if I let you stay another day. (So it wasn't really his decision!) I will make out the papers today." My answer to this is, "No, Doctor, you can't do this. You are not helping me. You know this will kill me." "Sending me to a central state prison hospital far away from my family, separated from the many friends I have made here, and thrown in a cell with a man who may have real problems cannot be written up, for history, as helping me". "Please hear me! No! It is not going to happen.

You can fill out the papers as you have been ordered. You can set the wheels in motion. But you are wrong if you think I have no other choice in the matter." "Surprise, I do. I am 83. I have lived a good life. A full life. I can cash in my chips with honor at this age and declare myself a winner. "I don't have to play another game. With the decks stacked and the dice loaded against me, why should I?" To this the Doctor A. responds with, "I can't stop it now. My neck is at stake. Anyway, you can't die deliberately.

It's against your religion." You do understand, doctor, we are not talking about whether I am going to die. You have already decided that. What we are talking about is whether I have a choice as to when I die. Believe me I do. I've been through this before. During World War II, I once stood in front of the Japanese Commandant of a "death camp" and said, "If I have to die, let it be now. I consider the game over" (Those weren't the exact words, but they're close enough).

At this point the doctor called on a colleague to save him, a Doctor B. Doctor B., reading the hand writing on the wall, tried to make a move to another prison seem more palatable. "What prisons don't you like?" was his question. A bit of unintentional humor, I think. But a waste of time because neither of the two doctors has any say in where the prison sends me. Doctor B., sensing the discussion was going nowhere, suggested to Doctor A. that he tell me his decision would be held up pending further investigation.

Another bit of unintentional humor (read that as, "Stall him till he's shipped out.") Doctors sometimes forget that their patients can speak the same language. So, dear friends, it's in your hands now. It really has been a "fun life" and I don't mind seeing it end in one last good battle. I do welcome your suggestions, though.

As Ever -

Your Friend

-Dick Keech

Semper Fidelis

Dec 2 2002 Monday

Dear Joan Here's another page to add to the trip report I am writing on the subject of my doctors "Gestapo Technique" for improving my health. Today I met with my counselor, a Mrs. C., to bring her up to date on my doctors plan to ship me out. (Write an 1845 transfer order to send me to a central prison.) I told her that I like it here at CMC and have asked my family to help me stay here. The purpose of my visit with her this day was to prepare her for their calls.
Mrs. C. told me she had heard nothing on such a transfer, as yet. She hastened to add however that CMC is a medical facility and as such no one in the staff can override a doctors decision.

If he wants to send me out, then I go. I told her, like I told the doctor, "Surprise. But, that is not quite true. I like it here at CMC. I do not plan on closing out my life in a central state prison cell, too far for my family and friends to visit me. That will kill me for sure.

If I have to die, then, understand me, I shall pick the time and the place." "Well, staff can't override a medical decision. We will have to do whatever he says," she said. "Don't say 'we' when you say that. You may have to, but believe me, I don't. At 83 I have lived a good life. A full life.

I can cash in my chips with honor whenever I want to. I do not have to continue this game another day. Do I make myself clear? My health will not be improved by moving me into a central state prison cell. OK?" I think I finally got through to her. Her answer was, "If paper comes through transferring you, I will call you right away, and we'll talk about it.

Don't do anything drastic in the meantime." "You don't really know me do you? I never do anything drastic. But I will, at any cost, do what is right." For what its worth, the real problem as I understand it, stems from my skill as a writer. You see, my doctor is not very tactful in dealing with the men. He is the subject of several pending lawsuits.

All based on his callous lack of interest in a serious medical problem. All generated by intelligent men who are good writers. I think he has me pegged as one of them. He has discussed this with his boss and has been told, "You can't have any more of these suits, or you yourself will be out. Get rid of your intelligent client before he writes you up like the rest."

So, that's where we stand. In the meantime I still like it here and still get in my 8 laps a day around the track. Makes a good story doesn't it? Just think how great it will read if they really do transfer me back to a major central prison cell.

And I pick up my chips and just quit eating.

Semper fi,



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