In July 2008, Michael Crespin died at a private prison in New Mexico after intentionally being denied medical care for months by a private medical contractor, Wexford Health Sources. He had a diganosis of colon cancer upon entering the facility, but was deprived from contact with medical personnel, and "Wexford essentially lost track of Mr. Crespin for treatment purposes." This sort of intentional neglect is all too common among private prison operators and private, for-profit companies that provide "medical services" to prisoners.
After a few nurses and doctors who had seen Mr. Crespin were finally able to convince the cheapskates at Wexford to provide the surgery he needed to live, another tumor was found, for which he was again denied medical treatment. 'I couldn't come out of my unit,' he told Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallager. 'I had no access to anyone.'" After repeatedly missing critical appointments, He eventually had the surgery, but the lawsuit said it was "only after investigative reporters had commenced review of Mr. Crespin's case and multiple other and serious instances of Wexford's deliberate indifference in providing medical services."
Thankfully, New Mexico terminated its contract with Wexford last year. But this case should serve as a reminder that privatizing things like medical service isn't always such a great idea. It's terribly sad to think of all the poor souls being denied medical treatment because private companies are able to exploit such an unsympathetic population. This goes on literally all the time at private prisons, to varying degrees, and it often results in very serious long-term health effects for thousands of prisoners, or, their untimely death. But what gets me most of all about this, is that, as part of the settlement, Wexford was able to officially deny any wrongdoing, so they essentially paid this family hush money.