Taking Action

Inmate complaining of health issues gets to see doctor after 8News report

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An inmate allegedly denied medical care at Augusta Correctional Center has seen a doctor after 8News investigated his situation last month.

Since the special report, Robert Hylton, an inmate at Augusta Correctional Center, has had a consultation with a cardiologist. He talked to 8News over the phone from the Augusta prison, saying the prison took action to address his medical concerns just hours after the news story aired. 

“Yes, the day after that they moved me from upstairs to downstairs,” Hylton said.

Medical records regarding Hylton’s heart condition indicate he had a thickening of his aortic valve. With temperatures in his cell reaching triple digits, he said it’s been a struggle to breathe in the summer months. 

“We are in an oven, basically a brick oven,” he said.

Since our report, Robert Hylton, an inmate at Augusta Correctional Center, has had a consultation with a cardiologist.

Hylton, who has a documented heart condition, has also been moved within the prison to a cooler spot. The move to a cell on a lower level means Hylton no longer has to climb stairs to get to his bed.  A week later, Hylton got to talk with his cardiologist.

“We had a video chat,” he said.

Still, the doctor advises he be relocated altogether and shared his concerns in a letter to prison staff.

“His doctor was concerned because of the environment that he’s in, as far as the heat,” Hylton’s wife Franchesca said.

She has also reached out to top officials including Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and the Chief of Operations at the Virginia Department of Corrections.

“Ms. Bishop, Brian Moran, David Robinson, they all have a copy of this letter,” she said.

The doctor writes in the letter:

With respect to the lack of air conditioning at the current facility, this may possibly be exacerbating his shortness of breath and level of comfort overall. I will certainly support the idea of him being located to a different facility with appropriate air conditioning. I cannot rule out the contribution of a humid environment to his symptoms.

“I am hoping since they have gotten the letter that they will move him and do the right thing,” Hylton’s wife said.

“His doctor was concerned because of the environment that he’s in, as far as the heat,” Hylton’s wife Franchesca said. (Photo courtesy of Franchesca Hylton)

Hylton, who has two years left on a robbery sentence, still has worries. Earlier this month, an inmate died at the facility. Multiple sources report he was seen seeking medical care earlier in the day. The medical examiner’s office has yet to determine a cause of death.

“It’s really disturbing to hear people are losing their lives and they’ll never get to see their family and stuff,” Hyton said. “We’re human beings. We want to come home and we want to be productive people in society.”

In the last two weeks, 8News has received a dozen emails and letters about concerns with the medical care and extreme heat at the Augusta facility.

Hylton said he believes he never would have gotten the TeleMed appointment if it wasn’t for 8News.

“I think that you guys shedding light on what is happening here at DOC and at Augusta that has played a role definitely in getting them on the ball and making a change,” he said.

8News is still waiting to hear if DOC plans to move the inmate to another prison. Hylton’s filling out paperwork giving the Department permission to talk to 8News about his medical care.

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