Bernal’s Grievance Nightmare, Over a Pair of Glasses

By Jay Goodman

I was sitting here listening to my law library friend Lowrence Bernal, tell me a story about his problems with medical, and getting a new pair of glasses.

My friend has over 20 years in the system and has been through a lot. Listening to him when he tells his stories, one would believe this man has a lot of anger, and truthfully, he does. But not with so much the people around him, just the Texas prison system. Knowing him the way I do and understanding why he is so angry, I cannot help but laugh, when he starts ranting and raving, about this corrupt prison system.

He told me a story that is all too familiar with the Texas prison system, lies, cover ups, manipulation, and of course, falsifying state documentation. Bernal said Jay, as I sit here looking out of my left eye that I had surgery on, I must admit, sight is a wonderful thing. My left eye started to give me problems after my last eye test on 3-8-2016. It went completely cataract in less than a month. My original optometry visit was on 2-11-2016. At this time the optometrist advised me that I had two small cataracts on each eye. I remember him telling me, “make sure you get checked out at your two-year mark. Your cataracts could get worse”. So, I left his office thinking nothing of the visit. When my glasses showed up. I thought yea, I get to watch T.V. from the back bench, instead of the front bench. The reason this is critical? Look straight up, get my point. Try watching T.V. like that for an hour.

The first thing I noticed when I received my glasses was that I could not focus on anything for very long. The nurse reassured me my eyes would adjust to my new prescription. I tried to walk around with my glasses on, but after running into people, fences, poles, missing steps, and nearly breaking my neck, I decided to take them back.

On 5-8-2016, my glasses were sent back to Estelle. On 7-4-2016, I wrote a request to medical, inquiring on the status of my glasses. After getting a lay in to medical, I was told, “we don’t even know who picked up your glasses?” I showed the nurse the copies of my paper work. She then said, “oh, that was me, who picked them up.” A blonde moment if ever I had seen one. My glasses showed up a week or so later. Not as bad, but not fixed either. When my eye started to go cataract on me, I could only think, damn, I’m in for it now.

After hearing the horror stories of people who have gone for surgery, you can only prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. After waiting around for months, I decided to cancel my operation. Big mistake, on my part. Shortly after this I’m shipped back to west Texas, only to be shipped south again. So, when Bernal arrived here at the Stevenson Unit, he was greeted with, welcome to our unit. He had me laughing when he told me how they had told him. We do not exist, nor do we follow any Texas prison rules or federal law. You will come to realize we are country bumkins. By that we mean, chewin tabacka, cowboy clappin’, idiots. Well, they lost me at chewin tabacka. He said, “I’m telling you the truth Jay, I wondered if I was even in Texas? Where in the hell is Cuero? Exactly my point.” While I was here, I had the bright idea, that I would put in for new glasses, that’s when the nightmare begins.

On 5-16-2018, I sent a request explaining my need for new glasses, since my left eye was cataract, my right eye had gotten stronger. Medicals response to this request was optom. appt. 3-19- 2018 was denied by optom due to inconsistent visual acuity results. L. Doss, RN 5-17-2018 @ 0538. OK, not the brightest bulb in the house. But, for the sake of argument. If my visual acuity test was inconsistent, doesn’t that mean someone should take a look at me? I guess the word of the day here is “inconsistent”. Big words like this cause everyone problems. Especially if you are chewin tabacka. So, I thought I’d put in a Step 1 Grievance. This was on 5-26-2018, Grievance number #2018139942. My response dated 7-9-2018, was responded to by none other than Debra Gloor, Senior Practice Manager, UTMB Correctional Managed Care. She states, since I refused an optomology appointment on 9-30-2017, this is the reason the optometry specialty clinic reviewers denied my optometry referral on 3-16- 2018. What does new glasses have to do with surgery? I put in a Step 2 Grievance on 7-12-2018. In my Step 2, I showed under UTMB Correctional Managed Health Care Manual, that eye glasses are provided on a prescription basis. Eye glasses will be replaced no earlier than every 24 months. Their Step 2 response basically stated your medical record also shows, you have not ever received state issued glasses. Response by Step 2 Medical Grievance program office of professional standards TDCJ health services division date 8-12-2018. So, my question remains, who tampered with my medical records? Tampering with a government record is a felony offense. Now comes the kick in the face. In my Step 2 response it states, “It is the responsibility of the unit health care providers to provide treatment based on their observation and clinical findings. Should you feel your medical concerns require further evaluation, you may submit a sick call request to the medical department.”

So, let’s see, I put in a request asking for new glasses and I was given the run-around. So, I put in a Step 1 and Step 2 Grievance only to be told, I’ve never had glasses in TDCJ. WOW! This whole time from 5-16 to 8-2-2018, I wasted for kicks. Not only to find out I’m stupid, but I was referred back to the Unit Medical Staff (Debra Gloor) who denied my original request. How is that for prompt medical care?

So, on 11-9-2018, I send a request to the Ombudsman Office of TDCJ. On 1-30-2019, I received a letter from none other than TDCJ’s Executive Director Bryan Collier. This letter impart states: The patient liaison program no longer accepts complaints from the offender population. That someone from the outside world has to file a complaint on your behalf. Now really pay attention to what this letter is saying. If a prisoner does not have outside help, someone to contact Ombudsman for you, you cannot receive any help from the Ombudsman Office. So, if you, in the Texas prison system with no family contact, TDCJ can and will do whatever they want to do to you. As for the rest of the letter. It states: Your letter is being returned and you are directed to follow the below listed procedures if you choose to file a complaint about your health care medical, dental, and/or psychological. “Psycho”, being the key word in this sentence.

The health care at the Stevenson facility is the responsibility of the UTMB-CMHC. Each facility has an informal complaint process in place. If you have a medical related complaint, you must first attempt resolution through this process. You may submit a request to the facility-based complaint senior practice manager. Check it out Brad, did you fail an I.Q. test so badly, that the Puppetmasters decided to promote you to Executive Director? The senior practice manager on the Stevenson Unit is, Debra Gloor? The same person who answered my request and Step 1 Grievance. The same person my Step 2 response referred me to. I believe Brad has been smoking some of the K-2, him and the Puppetmasters have flooded the Texas prison system with.

What does it take for someone in TDCJ to realize their wrong, and fixes the problem? Everyone refers me back to the original problem. Where is the oversight? Where is my protection? Who protects me, when the head of medical department refuses to do her job? Who holds her accountable for someone tampering with my medical file? If someone can delete files, what’s to stop someone from adding in false information? Who protects the old, destitute, poor, mentally ill? We cannot depend on our senior practice manager. Let alone the Ombudsman or the Executive Director of the Texas prisons.

By the time my friend was finished, I could see he was ready to explode. I could see the anger, frustration, and depression in his eyes. I sat there a minute not saying a word, because I know better than anybody, that he was right. There is always going to be mistakes like this inside the Texas prison system. This entire prison system is broken, and cannot be fixed from within. Look at how my friend tried to explain to nurse Doss, that he needed new glasses and was told by our head RN at the Stevenson Unit Doss, he was denied because his visual acuity test was inconsistent. Doesn’t that mean someone should take a look at him like a specialist? Imagine going to your doctor in the world and he tells you, look I know you are experiencing chest pains, but the test I’ve given you is inconsistent. Then our senior practice manager, tells him in his Step 1 Grievance since he refused surgery. What does someone being scared to have his cataracts removed have to do with him having glasses? Once again, imagine going to your doctor in the free world, and he or she tells you that you have a cataract, and unless you have surgery I am not going to give you glasses, so you can see T.V., or walk around, or read the newspaper. Crazy right?

Now in his Step 2 it says he has never had state glasses. Gee, what the hell is sitting on his nose, a wood pecker? Oh, and what about the property papers that he has for the glasses they gave him? They even say, it’s the responsibility of the unit health care provider to prescribe treatment. OK, that is why there is a grievance system, it’s to grieve a problem you have with something that’s not being done properly, like the medical, department not giving you Bernal eye glasses. That is why the grievance system is “Trash” in the Texas prison system. Bernal was writing a grievance on the health care provider. Either the person that answered his Step 2 Grievance never read it, or they are retarded. No investigation was done, because if it had been, they would have seen Bernal was eligible for glasses, called down here and got on everyone’s ass for (not doing their job).

Now I have to ask everyone reading this to think about how stupid the response from the Executive Director Bryan Collier was Sorry but unless you have someone in the free world to file a complaint for you we are unable to help you. So, if someone writes the director of the Texas prison system and says, Mr. Collier, I am being raped by the warden and the safe prison officer, he’s going to say, “Hey, sorry about your problem Bernal, but unless you have someone in the free world to make a complaint for you, there’s nothing I can do for you”. Sounds completely insane right? But it’s all true and it happens every day throughout the prisons in Texas.

Now listen to this, if you think that’s crazy. The state of Texas prison system is paying (millions) of dollars so prisoners can take hormone medication so they can walk around with 44 triple D breast and act like women, but there’s hundreds of men without teeth who cannot get dentures. Everything the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has in place to ensure our safety is only there as a front to fool the people of Texas and the federal government that they are here to help us in every way possible. But it’s all a front to hide all of their abuses and crimes.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez