- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2006

A federal judge yesterday questioned D.C. Department of Corrections officials about the medical treatment being provided to an inmate who recently had major cancer surgery.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan started the inquiry following a story last month in The Washington Times about inmate Houston Quildon’s efforts to recover from surgery for esophageal cancer while in the D.C. Jail.

Surgeons removed parts of Mr. Quildon’s stomach and esophagus in July.

But his recovery has not gone well, his attorney and family say. They want him released to a halfway house or to his home pending trial, saying he is in pain, has lost nearly 80 pounds and has trouble eating.

Prosecutors oppose any release. They cite medical reports indicating Mr. Quildon, 43, a barber, is cancer-free and getting better.

They also argue he is a flight risk and a danger to the community. Mr. Quildon faces 10 years to life in prison if convicted of dealing 240 grams of cocaine.

The Times story was based in part on a court pleading in which defense attorney Harry Tun said Mr. Quildon’s incarceration has been “detrimental to his health because the jail does not readily seek medical attention for prisoners.”

“If he is not receiving the medical treatment he is entitled to, then I am going to do something about it,” Judge Sullivan said yesterday.

He also contacted jail officials by phone during the court hearing.

“I’m concerned about … whether [Mr. Quildon] is receiving the medical treatment he should be receiving,” the judge told the officials.

Dr. Nader Marzban, medical director for the corrections department, told the judge that Mr. Quildon “is doing good.” He also said Mr. Quildon was “medically stable” and could attend a court hearing next week.

Mr. Quildon did not appear at the hearing, but Mr. Tun said he will call his client to testify about his medical care at the upcoming hearing.

The attorney also said he has received two phone calls already this week from Mr. Quildon in which he complained about not receiving pain medication.

Dr. Marzban said he has heard no such complaints and that Mr. Quildon has been prescribed morphine to treat his pain.

“The judge has done everything he can,” Mr. Tun said yesterday. “My position is Mr. Quildon should be released so he can get better care.”

Both side have sought the support of Dr. Wilton O. Nedd, who operated on Mr. Quildon.

He and other doctors spent eight hours at Howard University removing a five-centimeter section of Mr. Quildon’s esophagus and about 5 centimeters of his upper stomach. Surgeons then raised Mr. Quildon’s stomach into his chest and attached it to the rest of his esophagus. The surgery was paid for by the D.C. Healthcare Alliance, a District-funded health plan.

Dr. Nedd told The Times in the Nov. 27 story he is not picking sides and “just wants to give the facts.”

He said esophageal cancer is difficult to beat and carries an “extremely bad prognosis.” Dr. Nedd also said roughly one in four patients survive five years after diagnosis.

“I’m not the one to say whether he should or should not be released,” Dr. Nedd said. “I am a surgeon.”

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