Wadiya Jamal, wife of the imprisoned and ailing Mumia Abu-Jamal, was shocked to see photos of her husband. She was even more horrified seeing him in person last Thursday at the SCI Mahanoy. “I felt my husband is about to die,” she said.
Later, after the visit with him, Jamal was interviewed by ZaZa Ali and Professor Griff on their show on NMEMINDZ Radio. After Ali commented that we are all standing on Abu-Jamal’s shoulders, Jamal took exception to the characterization.
“I want to say something about what you just said … that you all stand on his shoulders,” she began. “That means that he is carrying you and all of us. It’s time for us to carry him. You understand? Because my husband, he is dying. Don’t feel no way if I get emotional, I’m feeling the way I’m supposed to feel. I’m not coming at you all. But I want to tell you that I just left that man in a wheelchair, trembling.”
For several minutes, Jamal explained her husband’s weakened condition, his difficulty in getting around in an unmotorized wheelchair, his shaking hands and the inadequate medical attention in the prison. “The way my husband looks today, it looks like they are going to succeed [in killing him] unless we get some real doctors up there to take care of him, I mean for real … Mumia’s life is at risk. It is execution by medical neglect and mistreatment. … The only way I see that Mumia is going to survive this is if he is free, because I can’t trust any of them.”
As for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s diabetes, his wife said this was unheard of before, that there was no history of diabetes in his family. She also expressed outrage over the skin affliction he was enduring. “I’ve never seen eczema look like that before—this beautiful brown skin, and I know his whole body from his head to his toes—for his body to be like we saw it today and how thin and weak he is. Mumia’s skin was itching and he started scratching, and I said let him do it, and talking to him at the same time. But he’s in pain, and I’ve had enough children that I can feel where infection is in your body. I can touch a certain wound or bruise and I can feel heat—that means infection is there.”
The following medical summary is published on the MOVE Organization’s website: “There was medical neglect and mistreatment of Mumia. In January, Mumia asked for treatment for an increasingly serious skin problem that spread over his entire body. … It was Mumia who told the doctors he was having an allergic reaction to the medicine he was given. Mumia had at least three blood tests and also ultrasounds. Ultrasounds showed he had a patch of pneumonia and gallstones. Mumia was admitted into the prison infirmary for a week in February.
“On February 17, Mumia weighed 268 pounds. When he was discharged from the infirmary a week later, he had lost over 20 pounds. On March 30, when he was taken to the hospital in a diabetic shock, his weight had dropped to 184 pounds. That’s a loss of 80 pounds in five weeks. His blood sugar levels registered high since at least February. Mumia’s blood pressure was high and the prison was monitoring it periodically.
“Blood tests taken on March 6 showed his blood sugar level of over 400,” the report continued. “This is a dangerously high level indicating a medical emergency. Almost three weeks later on March 30, Mumia went into diabetic shock—his blood glucose when he got to the hospital ICU was near 800, which can be fatal. When Mumia collapsed, he had gone to the infirmary for a blood pressure check. His sodium level was also dangerously high and he was dehydrated. If Mumia had gone into the diabetic shock at night in his cell, he would likely have died.
Superintendent John Kerestes