Another allegation of medical failures at FCCW

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women is facing another allegation regarding medical issues.

The Legal Aid Justice Center says a woman incarcerated at the prison, 39-year-old Margie Ryder, has accused the prison of "repeated, life-threatening mismanagement of her medication."

According to a release, Ryder suffers from terminal pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is a type of high blood pressure in the lungs that is caused by obstruction in the small arteries in the lungs. This can lead to damage to the heart.

Due to her condition, Ryder is dependent on medication and has a pump that is designed to continuously deliver the medication to her heart.

The release says she has been repeatedly hospitalized because of a failure on the part of the prison to appropriately provide the medication.

As part of a 2016 class action settlement agreement, the prison is required to provide medications, but a federal court overseeing the agreement ruled in January of this year that FCCW has failed to comply with this requirement and other provisions of the agreement.

There was a week-long enforcement trial, during which the court concluded the prison had failed to "appropriately and timely supply, distribute and administer medications, and that this failure was of such a broad, systemic nature that the prison's repeated dangerous medication mistakes were 'hardly surprising.'"

The court ordered the prison to re-train its nurses and to develop a new protocol to make sure patients have access to appropriate medical care.

"Ms. Ryder's suffering is a direct result of the Department of Corrections' ongoing failure to adequately address long-standing, well-known problems at FCCW," said Shannon Ellis, an attorney at Legal Aid Justice Center. "Failures in funding, failures in staffing and a fundamental culture of disrespect and disregard for prisoner patients fuel a dysfunctional system that results in tragedy."

A motion filed Tuesday asks the court to order the Virginia Department of Corrections to develop and implement a plan to safely administer Ryder's medications, including ensuring appropriate training for nurses and oversight.

It also wants to open lines of communication at the prison between the medical staff and Ryder's attorneys to ensure future situations like hers can be addressed quickly.

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