Joelle arrested

Joelle arrested

Thursday night, the video showed his hands trembling. For some reason the clerk behind the counter was laughing a little bit and even pointing. It is clear the robber was trying to sort of hide his face from the camera.

Robbing a 7-Eleven – not the smartest cash cow on the block. The chain of stores well-versed in cash loss avoidance. The clerk that night was fairly new and was under suspicion even though the robber had hit him with a pistol.

Joelle was caught about 7 blocks away. The clerk had described in great detail the green jacket and purple pants worn by the subject. The perp was bent over a few turned over garbage cans puking. The police kneed him in the back to get the cuffs on before they realized he was throwing up blood. The took him to San Francisco General. As a person in custody, his health care was now the responsibility of the state. They read him his rights as the surgeon rushed ran behind the speeding gurney.

Emergency surgery, they said. It seemed Joelle had bad kidneys. Really bad. They didn’t know if he would make it through the night.

The surgeon worked valiantly to stop some internal bleeding. The patient needed a transplant. He was already on the waiting list. He was pretty far up the waiting list in fact.

The police were stationed outside his recovery room. A styrofoam box arrived with the organs… a motorcyclist had made one last gift to 8 people… Joelle getting the kidneys. The transplant surgery was a success AND expensive. Joelle’s whole stay will cost the state $765,991.

The only people who have a Consitutional right to healthcare are the incarcerated. Since Joelle was under arrest, the transplant he had been waiting for .. for years.. was…. free.

Months later, at the trial, the clerk adamantly convinced the jury that Joelle was not the robber. The defense presented a witness who found a green jacket and purple pants, much too big for Joelle, in the trash cans 2 block away from the 7 Eleven.  The real robber was never apprehended.
Joelle was free. New Kidneys. Free Kidneys.

Six months later, the 7Eleven Clerk and Joelle hugged in the basement apartment they shared since college.  Their plan to get the much needed free operation had worked.   The 7-Eleven clerk burned his fake identification, wig and joked with Joelle that he didn’t have to hit him that hard.

End of my made up story.

Thursday, I attended a thought-provoking talk by Justin Graham, MD, the Chief Medical Information Officer with the California Prison Health Care Receivership Corp.  It seems our prisons are in receivership due to poorly provided health care.  Dr. Graham was blunt and refreshing about the challenges in the prisons and the awful health care system within.

I did make up the story about Joelle.  With our health system failing, it is conceivable the scenario can happen.  Right now, the prisons are using local hospitals to perform work they are unable to.  I strongly encourage you to read more about prisons and health care at

Incredible true story (the receivership of prisons).  I hope Dr. Graham stays involved to turn it around.

1 Comment
  • Jennifer Holmes
    Posted at 10:14h, 17 October

    It may be a made up story, but it’s not unlikely.

    check out

    Also a friend of mine started the Prison Hospice Project, because people were dying in Prison alone. Ugh.

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