Hepatitis C as Nature’s Own Death Sentence
Prisons all over the United States currently find ways on how to stop the growing cases of Hepatitis C among the population of the inmates. It is quite alarming that 880,000 was the estimated number of prisoners that is infected with hepatitis c. This figure is actually small compared to the total populace of the United States but the real problem occurs upon thinking that some point in time, these inmates would have their paroles and go out of the open community. The devastating point is that Hepatitis C transmission is very fast due to numerous ways that can be utilized to spread the Hepatitis C Virus.
Related health problems
Hepatitis C doesn’t immediately kill the infected inmate but it lingers day by day until the prisoner suffers years of pain and agony. One of the most horrifying complications of it is the liver cirrhosis that slowly destroys the liver and depreciates it functioning capability. Liver cirrhosis is expressed by inmates who have jaundice or the yellowing of the skin.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is often related to Hepatitis C (HC) due to the same transmission methods, be it sexual or via blood transfusion. Prisoners having AIDS is usually co-infected with Hepatitis. This is due to the fact that AIDS lowers the defense system and the chance of the body’s fighting capability to prevent HC. It also increases the rate of the development of liver cirrhosis.
Related Social and Ethical Issues
The transmission of HC is largely related to the social activities of the inmates before and while in the prison. Let us take the case of Anthony Harris, 51 years old that got his HC from the needle of a tattoo machine while in the prison. It is a social culture of the inmates to put tattoos to their body but the potential hazard of acquiring HC is high. If the needle used was not properly sterilized and the previous customer of the machine has HC then the next user of the needle will acquire it. Just like the use of illegal drugs. The needles of the injections are also potential carriers of virus just like in the case of Leslie Czirr who was convicted because of illegal drug use. Sex without the use of condoms can trigger transmission of HC and of course multiple sex partners give high probability of getting HC. Sharing of personal grooming tools can also initiate transfer of the HC virus.
Ethically almost all of the transmission modes are immoral thus avoiding these practices will also stop the proliferation of the virus. Ethically sex should be done with a single partner and morally it should be your husband or wife. It is also unethical to share your personal tools such as razors and nail clippers to other inmates. We can also use these proper ethics to stop the vulnerability cycle for individuals inside and outside jails.
Nursing intervention and roles regarding the spread of HC inside jails
Nurses of jails and related institutions have different roles to prevent the proliferation of HC. Nurses have these vital roles that can start a matrix of events that will cause a decrease in the population of HC inside and outside the detention center. Roles such as managers, teachers, advocate, researchers and caregivers are played by nurses to ensure halt the proliferation of the HC. Nurses’ intervention plays a major role upon guiding the inmates on how to react on certain ideas and actions such as introduction of medicine, cure techniques and symptom handling.
Nurses as Managers
Nurses can be a manager with their inmate patients by first, handling the symptoms and dealing with the side effects of the current medical procedures subjected to the prisoner. Dealing with symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and other discomforts should be done with extra care and devotion. It is usual that a nurse should assess the inmate’s activity and develop certain techniques to control the fatigue of the inmate. Depression is also a symptom so nurses should develop activities and other action that would initiate stress and depression management. Nurses as managers of symptoms and side effects of medication should prepare plans that could handle for certain problem of the inmates.
Nurses as advocate
Nurses should be an advocate of preventing the spread of HC. Every nurse should talk with conviction to all the inmates that he or she encounters regarding the ways and techniques to prevent the proliferation of HC inside the jail. They should always initiate talk and include it on the topics whenever a possible communication is open. Nurses should never be afraid to initiate the talk especially if that talk would hinder the multiplication of HC cases.
Nurses as teacher
Teaching the inmates proper handling of the symptoms can greatly increase the hope of the inmates and might as well continue to fight the dread of the HC. Moreover nurses should prepare big conferences inside the jail to teach the prisoner community on how to prevent the proliferation of HC. They should also include lessons about the nature and cure for HC.
Nurses as researchers
Nurses can help the research community by taking the records of the infected inmate’s reaction to certain situations, his response to relevant stimulus can also be recorded as well as the action that he will take when the inmate is experiencing sever symptoms of HC. Moreover nurses can also set safe parameters and expose it to the patients and look at their response to it.
Nurses as caregivers
Nurses should properly give attention and help fort hose who have chronic HC like in the case of Anita Taylor who seldom speaks because of the pain that she feels for each word uttered. Do not treat inmates as patients only treat them as a mother who sufficiently cares for her child. Give them extra care for they suffer pain that is immeasurable such that of the case of Anita.
The Nurse versus the Nature’s Death Sentence
The nursing community can prepare plans, exert effort and make extra special attention for the inmates who are suffering from Hepatitis C. The intervention process of the nurses and their key roles as managers, teachers, advocate, researchers and caregivers can greatly decrease the probability that Hepatitis C would proliferate on a fast rate. The greater effort of the nurses versus the nature’s death sentence can ensure a great degree of hindrance to the vulnerability cycle.
Canadian Nurses Association. Hepatitis C- A nursing Guide, Retrived July 27 , 2007, from
Public Health Agency of Canada Resource Library.
Web Site: www.phacaspc.gc.ca/hepc/pubs/nursing-infirmiers/index.html
Associated Press. (2007). Prison’s deadliest inmate, hepatitis C, escaping. Retrieved July 27
2007, from MSNBC News Web Site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17615346/