Select Detainee Profiles in Woods v. Myers

Document Date: June 13, 2007

Eamma Jean Woods
Woods is a 45-year-old Honduran woman who suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors to develop on a person’s body. When she was detained in July 2006, Woods had a painful glomus tumor on her right ring finger. Prior to her detention, Woods had surgery to partially remove the tumor, and was scheduled for another surgery at a San Diego hospital to completely remove her tumor in August 2006. Because she was detained, Woods missed her surgery appointment, and has only been prescribed painkillers for her tumor since then. Woods has not been referred to a neurologist or an oncologist to review her genetic disorder and determine the proper treatment for her glomus tumor.

Fred Nganga Ngugi
Ngugi is a 38-year-old Kenyan man who has been detained at SDCF since December 30, 2005. Ngugi has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was taking medication for his condition for several years before he was detained. After waiting eight weeks to see a psychiatrist, Ngugi was put on a different medication for his illness, which was not monitored by medical staff at SDCF. Due to unbearable side effects, Ngugi now refuses his medication and his illness goes untreated. Ngugi has also suffered from severe dental problems. In March 2006, he reported his dental pain to a doctor and was told his tooth would require a root canal. His follow up appointment was cancelled, and after repeated sick call requests were ignored, Ngugi’s tooth crumbled in his mouth five months later.

Yusif Osman
According to the ACLU, inadequate medical care at SDCF has, in several occasions, resulted in death. In one case, Yusif Osman, a national of Ghana who had previously complained to medical staff of chest pain, was found dead while locked in his cell one morning in June 2006. He died of coronary vasculitis, a heart condition that was neither diagnosed nor treated while he was detained, despite his efforts to receive medical attention. On the night of his death, Osman and his cellmate requested immediate medical attention, and a correctional officer observed Osman, who was suffering from severe chest pain, kneeling on the floor of his cell. The officer is believed to have notified medical personnel of the situation, and was instructed to advise Osman to submit a written sick call request. By the time Osman was next observed in his cell he was completely unresponsive and cool to the touch. More than one hour passed between the time Osman and his cellmate requested urgent medical attention and the time that a 911 call was made in response to the medical emergency.

Francisco Castaneda
Castaneda was a victim of DIHS’s deficient benefits package. He entered SDCF in March 2006 and immediately complained about increasingly painful lesions on his penis. After being examined by an on-site doctor, he was told he needed to see a specialist for his condition. Several months later, during which time Castaneda’s condition worsened and he began bleeding and discharging from his penis, DIHS approved the request. During his 11-month stay in immigration detention, 8 of which were at SDCF, Castaneda saw multiple specialists who agreed he needed a biopsy to determine whether his condition was cancerous. Medical staff at SDCF, acting in accordance with DIHS policy, repeatedly refused to schedule Castaneda for a biopsy, stating it was “elective surgery.” The ACLU sent several letters to DHS and DIHS on his behalf and finally, in February 2007, Castaneda’s biopsy was scheduled. Before undergoing the procedure, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released Castaneda—who had by this time developed multiple tumors on and around his penis—from detention due to his serious medical condition. Castaneda immediately went to the emergency room for a biopsy, at which point he learned that he was suffering from penile cancer. On February 14th, his penis was surgically removed, and he learned that the cancer had already spread to his groin lymph nodes. He has now undergone three rounds of chemotherapy, is scheduled to have his lymph nodes surgically removed, and is awaiting the results of additional testing that will reveal whether the cancer has spread to other parts of his body.