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Botched Mastectomies, Testosterone Poisoning, and Grooming Women for Predators in CA Prison

Swaggy brown locks, braided in straight backs, standing around 5' 3" and 100lbs, I met up with a transgender friend of mine I've known for more than 11 years -- Medeon Dean. He has lost a significant amount of weight, I barely recognized him a few months ago when I returned to C Yard. Medeon, TRU, Smoove, and a host of other trans and I have been hooping on the basketball courts of the Central California Women's facility for years. I'm typically referred to as the only "girl" on the court. Despite the ignorant accusations of me being "transphobic," I'm perfectly comfortable around natal women identifying as transmen. They are authentic and I believe them -that matters. Anyhow, today we ain't hooping because Medeon is still recovering from being poisoned by his CCWf medically administered testosterone shots -hormone therapy. Medeon wanted people to know, he was never fully informed as to what is actually hidden in the hormone therapy shots, the adverse impact it could potentially have on his health, he deems the medicine unsafe, potentially deadly, and he will share intimate details that if others had these experiences, would be potentially embarrassing. We both wish to confront CCWf and California about the potentially deadly medicines they are injecting in the bodies of teens, girls, boys, young adults, and inmates across the sanctuary state. Medeon's account of his debilitating experience is not being shared to convince others to give up on the violent medicine, he simply wants to better inform people about his health outcome after more than four years of taking the hormone therapy. Politicians like San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner, who also authored the controversial legislation SB132 -which nonchalantly houses biological male inmates from men's prisons in women's prisons upon self identifying as non male, has hoodwinked Governor Gavin Newsom -who no doubt played a role in giving female inmates access to abortion and Plan B to hide sexual misconduct between make and female inmates -- into opening the floodgates to the growing number of children and incarcerated people -- the most vulnerable Californians -- rushing to access the physiological debilitating, life threatening, and under-scienced controversial hormone medications. One brisk afternoon I was traversing the C Yard track walking toward C Clinic and I stopped in my tracks when I saw a frail Medeon leaned forward in a slowly moving wheelchair. Befuddled, I immediately asked, "Medeon, what happened to you?" All he would initially say was, "TJ, I'm sick." I asked him a couple more times after that. Then I gave him space. I knew he would eventually tell me what was going on, but I couldn't help but speculate. I'm also a Prison Lawyer, and I reflected on how I was helping Medeon formulate, draft, and file his grievances years back when a CCWf nurse was being extremely negligent administering the testosterone shots to a few trans people. I was hearing a few complaints about her not paying attention to what she was doing. Medeon said the nurse inadvertently administered the testosterone into his sciatic nerve. "Ouch!" Was my initial response.

Medeon would later tell me he was having problem after problem with the whole California administered gender transitioning process. Negligence was afoot and it was growing taller than the Chowchilla skies. Medeon said, "after 4 years on the hormone therapy, my body started to break down at the 2 year mark. I started to develop symptoms, and it was hard for me to breathe. My body was fatigued and things weren't adding up. I had questions. Was I supposed to feel like this?" His eyes were sad, and I saw a raging storm challenging his thoughts. "What am I taking? What do these hormones consist of?" Medeon asked rhetorically as he described how he back tracked his journey and enlisted his sister to do research for him. "She looked up the adverse effects of the hormones I had been given, and I was like, oh my God! How did I not know this? I wasn't educated." He said. He spoke to a CCWf doctor and the doctor told him "feeling this way is normal. All transgenders are going through this." Medeon said he questioned his own inexperience with introducing biological and chemistry altering medicines to his body. He questioned why he didn't ask if the testosterone would harm or kill him. He questioned the doctors even more so, reasoning "shouldn't they have told me this was going to do this?" At this point, Medeon and I were standing in the exercise area on C Facility Yard, in a place commonly referred to as the "weight pile." People were moving about doing their workouts, and leaving us alone. I was peering out towards the Program Office while Medeon faced the housing units across the lawn and track. It was still sunny and cool, no doubt the details of this haunting story warmed us both with fury. We picked the story up with another visit to the CCWf medical doctor. Medeon described a day when he was experiencing a fast heartbeat, "I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest." He said. He went to see the doctor and was initially misdiagnosed as having a pulmonary embolism. Once it was discovered that was a misdiagnoses, the doctor panicked, yelling, "we gotta get you out to the hospital!" The doctor in the "free world," informed Medeon that he had a cocktail of medical issues; an enlarged spleen, elevated enzymes were attacking his liver, high blood pressure that he now takes medication for, and will for the rest of his life, and other high chemical levels subjecting him to a "constant struggle." Medeon shook his head and referred to the hormone therapy as a "pilot experiment," where doctors and medical staff aren't really educated. "They're injecting us and not educating us either." Now that it's widely known medical staff injured his sciatic nerve, deteriorated his overall health, and botched his double mastectomy, "all of a sudden medical can't help us with nothing now." Bemused, I needed him to run that last part back. "You had a botched mastectomy too?" I asked exhaustedly amazed. "Yes!" He said -- like I knew this already. "Wait a minute," I slowed him. "This is the headline." I thought to myself, turned to a fresh page in my notebook, and continued to document this physically and mentally punishing -- painful lesson. I sized up my long standing friend, light skin with freckles, wearing an inmate uniform sweatshirt. Ostensibly everything looked kosher. But what did I know about what was going on beneath the surface? People are conditioned to judge the cover of human books looking fine on the outside,

not knowing torment is plaguing the soul, somewhere deep within the pages. Same thing with prisons, people an expanse away, can only imagine guardians of the state like Senator Weiner and Governor Newsom are making decisions that take children and inmates out of harms way, when in reality they are physically and mentally butchering these already at risk California pupils. I braced myself for this more nail biting part of our conversation. Medeon looked like he didn't know where to start. I noticed he does the extra work to characterize his words using language that gets his message across as clear as possible to the system. Ironically this is the same type of behavior work that's expected of me to do by people like birthing dads. Medeon received a double mastectomy and was given many instructions for aftercare by the surgeon. He was to take antibacterial medications, clean his wounds with another medicine and gauss. When he asked CCWf medical staff for the most basic wound care dress, they refused to provide him with any medical supplies. He got an infection in his left pectoral chest wall. The wound opened, became exposed, and the medical staff did nothing. He felt sick and came down with a high fever. CCWf again, rushed him to the hospital. Medeon was able to get three days of antibiotics through an IV. Shockingly, the medical staff blamed the infection on the testosterone therapy. Because he was complaining so much about the hormones breaking his body down, CCWf medical staff blamed those health failures on the mastectomy. Medeon related, to further avoid accountability, CCWf proceeded to test him for unrelated issues like lime disease, just to "cover their asses." Medeon was supposed to see surgeon Sattlewhite 4 times post care, the first 2 visits coming in 3-6 months, and then 1 year. Seven months passed, and no Sattlewhite. When he finally saw the surgeon, he said, "Sattlewhite was shocked I had an infection," asking him, "how come no one notified me?" Medeon said, "Sattlewhite was baffled when I told him half my nipple fell off, medical staff banned me from receiving scar cream, and now I have a horrible scar." This whole medical debacle was unnerving but not really surprising. Surgeons across the nation are all too familiar with this chronic aftercare problem. One surgeon, Dr. Erb Ellis, during an interview on the Grio about post op care and risky surgeries, said "patients are taking risks in botched surgeries, where the patient is assuming the risk without full studies, as this is experimental, not qualified through long term evidence." Prison's Rights Director, Elizabeth Matos, stated, "wound care is a systemic problem nation wide." (The Grio 2023) Medeon seems content with Dr. Sattlewhite's word, he will rebuild his nipple. As a prison lawyer, and friend, I encouraged him to continue challenging the aptitude of inept medical staff, none of them can be trusted in this new world of experimental surgeries that leaves the lives of so many marginalized people in constant jeopardy.

Part 2 coming soon

Please see the attached Transgender Healthcare Guide used by the California Department of Corrections.

Download PDF • 945KB

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