Mother of Prisoner Suffering Cancer: My Son and I on Hunger Strike until He Receives Right to Treatment
2019-07-08 - 10:19 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): "Arrest me and release my son who has stage 3 colon cancer," says Elias Al-Mulla's mother in a weak voice holding back her tears. "I don't stand against God's will, but Elias' situation is deteriorating from bad to worse and the prison's administration is stalling his treatment. My son suffers pain in all his body, osteoporosis, lack of immunity, pain in colon area, back pain, bad vision, nausea and dizziness, pain under the rib cage to the right side, lower neck pain in the chest area, constipation and blood with stool, shortness of breath that increases at night until he feels that his heart will stop. My son is struggling alone in prison without receiving proper treatment. I, myself, feel just as my son feels every night that my heart will stop out of fear for him. I don't sleep at night."
As if Elias who is still very young, didn't suffer enough with his third stage colon cancer, he continues to suffer in prison, and has suffered from a serious fracture in his hand on March 27, 2019. His treatment was ignored by the prison's administration, until the fracture worsened and now his hand could never be normal again. Elias lives a disastrous life due to this fracture until this day. What Happened?
On March 27, 2019, Elias's hand was broken, and after it swelled, he was taken the next day to Jaw Prison's infirmary, transferred to Al-Qalaa clinic then to Al-Salmaniya Medical Complex, where the doctor ordered performing an urgent surgery on him the following day, March 29. However, the prison's administration did not take Elias to the hospital to undergo the surgery, claiming he doesn't have an appointment. When Elias demanded to be taken to the hospital, the prison administration's answer was punishing him by shackling his hands and legs from 6:30 to 10 am, without taking into consideration his broken hand, which made his condition even worse.
After long suffering and after a number of movements Elias launched on his part in prison, other steps taken by Elias' mother outside prison and appealing to the National Institute for Human Rights and Ombudsman's office, Elias was transferred to Al-Salmaniya on Friday, April 5, to undergo surgery. After he was admitted to Al-Salmaniya, he was told that they don't have the metallic materials to splint his broken hand, so he was transferred to King Hamad Hospital, and underwent the operation on April 12; i.e. two weeks after his hand was broken.
The doctor told Elias that it is a serious fracture and the delay in performing the surgery affected his hand and that he would not be able to use his hand in a normal way, especially his fingers, due to the complications caused by the delay. The surgery took 4 hours, while it normally only requires only 2.
Fourteen iron strips were installed in Elias's hand, besides the side strips. The doctor told him that some of these strips should be removed on April 30, but Elias hasn't been taken to the doctor, to date; i.e. more than two months after the scheduled date. Elias was not taken to the doctor, and none of the strips were removed, knowing that the doctor in the oncology department was upset that they are still in his hand and fears that they would cause him an inflammation.
The oncologist's fear was in place, and with the delayed removal of these pieces, Elias's hand got swollen so dreadfully that the swelling covered the iron strips. His hand's color turned to violet and he could not move his fingers or sleep due to the swelling and pain.
This pain and swelling in the hand is associated with all of the above, the pain in his whole body, pain in colon area, lung and back, low vision, nausea, osteoporosis, lack of immunity, catching infection whenever any inmate gets ill, blood with stool, shortness of breath, especially at night. Doesn't the Jaw prison administration feel that it should treat Elias in a humane manner and give him his right to treatment, which is the simplest of prisoner's rights?
Elias used all the means available to him: he spoke to the prison officers, and wrote letters to the prison and Preventive Security Department, but received no answer. Elias's mother knocked all the doors she could access: the National Institute for Human Rights and the Ombudsman's office, but received no answer.
"The Egyptian doctor treating Elias's cancer told me: Thank God, two years have passed and the cancer hasn't returned. Before I could express my happiness, he told me but the disease may return within 5 years. Since the time the doctor told me this, I counted the years a person who is waiting for his death. This year Elias will enter his fifth year of suffering from the disease. I am scared and anxious for my son's health deterioration. I hold my heart in my hand every night unable to sleep. I don't leave my phone. Sometimes I put it on the silent mode just to relax a little bit, however, I soon return it to the normal mode, fearing that I receive any news about Elias," the mother says in tears.
She continues "Elias called me a few days ago and was in a desperate condition that he hasn't been in before. He used to give me hope and power. But this time the pains were bigger than him, bigger than his exhausted body energy which was devastated by the disease, chemotherapy, negligence and poor nutrition, ventilation and water. Such a place is as a disease to healthy people, so what effect would it have on the ill!"
"We had no other choice. Elias decided to go on a hunger strike until he receives his right to treatment and gets transferred to the hospital to have the metallic strips removed from his hand. Elias started a hunger strike on Sunday (July 7) and I am also on hunger strike starting from today (Monday). I know the serious effects the hunger strike will have on Elias's health, but I am with his decision, and I will be his partner in this decision. What happens to my son will happen to me as well," she added.