By Phil Drake | Montana Watchdog
HELENA – Members of the legislative Law and Justice Interim Committee said Friday there was little or nothing they could do to help an inmate seeking medical attention for hernias described as the size of “cantaloupes,” noting there were conflicting opinions between doctors over the proper treatment.
Sen. Terry Murphy, R-Cardwell, said he and Sen. James Shockley, R-Victor recently visited Ronney Harriman(pictured at right) at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge to discuss the large hernias which protrude from his waist.
Murphy said they were “shocking to see” and several of the panel members winced when looking at photographs of Harriman that were passed around.
“I understand totally his despair and distress over the situation he is in,” Murphy said, but added it was his opinion the committee was not in a position to make any recommendations on what would be considered a medical decision.
It was suggested the Department of Corrections bring in an outside doctor to determine the best course of action.
Murphy said Harriman has had two surgeries for the hernias that did not solve the problem. “So the question is: will a third surgery work when the first didn’t?”
It was suggested the Department of Corrections bring in an outside doctor to determine the best course of action. No one from the DOC addressed the committee during the Harriman discussion.
But in an earlier interview with Montana Watchdog, a spokeswoman for Montana State Prison said officials took inmate care seriously and all inmates received excellent care.