An investigation is underway at the Hampshire County House of Correction.
This comes after a Whately woman reports what she calls 'unprofessional behavior' by a correctional officer inside a local hospital room where her daughter was placed with a guarded inmate.
Barbara Adamcek of Whately said she will never go to the emergency room at Cooley Dickinson Hospital after her most recent experience Sunday night.
"We were in a room that was divided by a curtain and a while after my daughter had been there, they brought in a male inmate with two guards," Adamcek said.
Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane clarified that those were correctional officers.
Either way, Adamcek told Western Mass News, her 28-year-old daughter suffers from several medical conditions and felt uncomfortable in the same room as an inmate, so Adamcek began to wonder.
"I want to find out if there is any sort of protocol for inmates being brought into the emergency department," Adamcek noted.
Western Mass News brought that question to a spokesperson for the hospital, and they responded with the following statement:
Patients under the custody of law enforcement officers receiving care in the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Department are provided with the same standards of care as all patients. Their privacy is protected according to federal and state laws as is the privacy of all patients. Cooley Dickinson will therefore not comment on any specific patients. The design of the hospital’s Emergency Department is such that some rooms are private and others are semi-private. Semi-private rooms are divided with a privacy curtain. Our policy is that Emergency Department patients under the care of law enforcement officers are placed in private rooms, or in semi-private rooms without a roommate, as often as possible. More than 80% of our beds are private and unless the department is particularly busy, most patients can be placed in private rooms.
Dr. Khama Ennis, Chief of Emergency Medicine/Medical Director of Emergency Services at Cooley Dickinson Hospital wrote:
We approach every patient who comes to this Emergency Department with a focus on their safety, dignity and kindness regardless of their walk of life.? Patients are placed in rooms based on need for monitoring and available space.? Private rooms are preferred, though semi-private rooms are often used based on demand.? This is a fluid process managed on a minute-by-minute basis always with an overall view of the department in mind.? Additionally, we have had many patients come through this department accompanied by police officers or correctional officers.? Their behavior towards patients and staff is humane and respectful.? We appreciate this inquiry and the opportunity to provide care for all the patients in our community.
Adamcek told Western Mass News that it wasn't just the male inmate who was placed in the same room as she and her daughter.
"The inmate was talking about all kinds of guns, all different kinds of guns. One of the guards kept engaging him in conversation and talking to him about guns," Adamcek said.
Adamcek made a complaint to the Hampshire County House of Correction, and now an investigation is underway.
In a statement, Sheriff Cahillane told Western Mass News:
"We will pursue the investigation to the end. Based on factual information, either discipline or no discipline will be made. The investigation involves interviews of all parties."
Western Mass News has reached out to area hospitals to learn their protocol.
Baystate Medical Center has mainly private rooms in their ER, and a spokesperson said inmates are kept in a private room with their officers.
Stay with Western Mass News as we will continue to follow the latest on this story both on-air and online.
Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.