‘Profound’ health risks found at Georgia medical prison

Standing water and filth are just steps away from the operating room. So-called black mold grows in at least two places. And ceilings leak so badly that, in some places, large pads are needed to soak up the rainwater.

These and other unsafe and unsanitary conditions have existed for months and, in some cases, even years at Augusta State Medical Prison, the Georgia prison system’s flagship medical facility, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found.

Last month, the AJC obtained photos showing how bags of garbage had been piling up outside the operating room, drawing flies and mosquitoes. The infestation was so bad that doctors and nurses were forced to swat the insects away during surgery.

That story prompted prison officials to move the garbage to another area. But new photos obtained by the newspaper and published over the weekend show that the problem is far worse, creating an environment that could be a breeding ground for infection.

In an area where patients are wheeled in and out of surgery, a sink abandoned after it was damaged by a burst air conditioning duct in mid-August hasn't been repaired or even cleaned, attracting dirt and bugs, and water pools in its severed pipe. Nearby, a tarp diverts leaking rainwater into a dirty, rusted drain for runoff from an ice machine.

The bacteria, parasites and insects attracted by standing water create a “profound” health risk for patients with compromised immune systems, Mark Sobsey of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health told the newspaper.

Read the latest revelations by clicking here: http://www.myajc.com/news/state--regional/conditions-make-georgia-prison-hospital-breeding-ground-for-infection/CJ7PQFmJ2sDFwWXnLpMbRM/