An inmate dies of cancer that was diagnosed late in prison, his relatives plan to file a complaint

The open prison of Casasabinda, in Corsica – STEPHAN AGOSTINI / AFP

The man complained of severe pain in August last year. It took until December before he was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer.

“I wonder if there is fair treatment in prison. Obviously, there, that’s not the case.” A month has passed since Catherine lost her partner, Thomas (names changed). The latter, imprisoned in the prison of Casasabinda, in the eastern part of Corsica, was struck in less than a year by cancer that spread to many parts of the body, even to the brain.

Today, Thomas’ relatives are convinced of this: the difficulties he encountered in receiving proper care in prison worsened the deterioration of his health condition.

“My friend paid with his life for a failure”, complained Catherine, her throat tight, to

Pains appear in August 2021

The lump occurs in August, last year, at the level of his pectoral. In the medical unit of Casasabianda prison, it is believed to be an inflammatory problem, said Catherine. “He was told that it could be related to the Covid-19 vaccine, because he had just received his second dose.”

But as the weeks went by, the size increased, and communication between the prisoner and the medical unit seemed to be cut off. In mid-September, an ultrasound revealed several lumps while blood tests showed the problem was not inflammatory. Despite his complaints, Thomas was only prescribed Doliprane and Tramadol, a drug belonging to the opioid family used to relieve pain.

“He can no longer write, can hold his pen properly. But he was told that care is complicated to do, where he is”, continued his partner.

Transferred to hospital four months later

With the International Observatory of Prisons (OIP), which expressed Catherine’s testimony, a doctor confirmed that “the lack of response to treatment and the size of the lymph nodes identified by ultrasound must have led of rapid further examination, possibly a biopsy”.

However, Thomas was only prescribed, again, painkillers. Between August and December, the size is from 6 to 20 centimeters. “When I went to him, he explained the place his pain had taken in his daily life. When I saw him in December, I was hallucinating about his condition”, recalls Catherine. This evoked the notes his partner had taken. “He recorded everything, his pain, his worries, his prescriptions.”

Finally, faced with the urgency of his health condition, Thomas was transferred to the Interregional Secure Hospital Unit in Marseille at the beginning of December, four months after the appearance of the first lump. There, after a biopsy, he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer that had progressed rapidly.

“He was sick and did nothing”

Catherine and the family of Thomas, who only has a few months left to live, then fight to get him a chance to return to his family. On December 30, the sentencing judge agreed to their request. So in his home he died, on July 21.

Now only anger and misunderstanding remain among his relatives. “He is sick, worried. He shows it and yet nothing is done,” lamented his colleague. “He is about to be released from detention and he has heard that he has only a few months left to live. He is not yet entitled to a reprieve.”

“Is it a failure of the state? Of the doctors? Of the detention center?”, he wondered again.

If “there is no formality”, Catherine plans to start legal proceedings: “We know it will not be returned to him but we want it to be known, heard. consciences. again.” Contacted this Friday, the management of the Casasabinda prison did not respond to our request for an interview.

Original article published on

VIDEO – Japan’s prison system: former prisoners testify

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.