AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

AJC uncovers new concerns about Georgia prison doctor

In March, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed how two inmates died after their symptoms went untreated for weeks at Emanuel Women’s Facility in Swainsboro. The women - Sharon Blalock and Peggy Walker - were in the care of Dr. Yvon Nazaire, who had been hired by the state even though he was in the midst of a three-year probation for negligence in his treatment of patients in New York.

The story struck a nerve. The AJC's Danny Robbins received dozens of calls and emails from former inmates and relatives of inmates raising more questions about Nazaire - specifically his treatment of inmates at Pulaski State Prison, the primary place where he has been responsible for medical care since he was hired by Georgia nine years ago.

Now the newspaper has uncovered more questionable deaths that have occurred on Nazaire’s watch, some in agonizing fashion, raising yet another round of questions about the state’s decision to hire him.

At Pulaski, Peggy Bean was vomiting feces, but it was days before she was taken to a hospital. Evelyn Spear might have had a chance in her battle with lung cancer if she had gotten more than Mylanta when she complained for three months that she couldn’t swallow. Paula Cooper had breast cancer, yet was returned to the prison population without a plan for treatment _ and her incision still bleeding.

And then there’s Donna Sanders, who spent 68 torturous days in custody, first in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center and then at Pulaski, pleading for more medical care before her death.

On Sunday and Monday in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and at myAJC.com, you can read what we found in our latest investigation into prison deaths.

Inmate died in prison despite pleas for medical treatment 

AJC Investigation: Women inmates suffer agonizing deaths


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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.