Marlon was released from the Correctional Feb. 5, 2001. He did not receive the drug counselling program Judge Kolenick had strongly recommended at sentencing. He had a black eye and many bruises. The medical attention he received on the outside was excellent. He is not finished with getting the Correctional to account for its actions. Sheila Steele's blog
Friday, Nov. 16, 2001
Marlon was seen by his plastic surgeon yesterday who told him that he was well enough healed to return to the Correctional today.
He will be taken back and placed in the hands of the bureaucracy where requests for forms (to see the nurse, to set up a visit, etc.) can take days and he will not be able to receive phone calls.
Marlon is convalescing in St. Paul's hospital after three operations, the first to remove necrotized (gangrenous) flesh from his penis, the second to remove flesh from his leg to reconstruct his penis and the third to stop the bleeding from the circumcision they performed at the same time. He was coerced to undergo the circumcision as the doctor told him he would prefer to use what was left of his foreskin for reconstruction rather than take more skin from his leg to reconstruct both the penis and foreskin.
He has been through a devastating experience and is in need of support from family, friends and the community. The Correctional is still making it very difficult for him to receive this support. They have put a phone in his room to make it easier for guards to contact their bosses for direction. The number is (306) 655-5944. Please call to inquire about Marlon's condition and ask why he is being treated with such callous indifference. He is a low security risk, having served two months of a five month sentence. Hospital staff tell us they have not ever experienced such security measures around an inmate receiving hospital care.
Through one of his guards at the hospital, he learned that he no longer has the same caseworker and that his possessions have been moved out of his cell. He was told he would be held in "secure" when he is released from hospital. The reason for this would be to limit his access to the media. "Secure" is 23 hour lock-up with no privileges (TV, fresh air) and is generally used either as punishment for transgressions within the institution or to isolate inmates believed by other inmates to be informants. He was also told that inmates in his old unit, A2, are making so many requests for band-aids that the facility ran out of them.
Any other person on a five month sentence would have received a temporary absence (TA) during hospital confinement to save the expense of three guards a day (3 - 8 hour shifts). During Marlon's first week in hospital he was hooked up to an IV and a catheter as well as being handcuffed to a bed.
On Tuesday the catheter was removed and he is allowed to take some fresh air outside -- in leg irons.
He requested his medical records over a week ago and still has not received them. The correctional and the Medical Officer of Health are still denying he contracted the bacterial infection because of conditions in the institution. In an interview with CBC radio reporter Jennifer Quesnel Monday, MOH David Butler-Jones acknowleged an inmate with a weakened immune system could pick up this opportunistic bacteria.
Certainly undergoing three rounds of general anaesthetic in two weeks weakens a person's immune system.
It seems to us that the authorities are being reckless with the health of inmates, counting on the indifference and even hostility of the public to stand behind them as they play a cruel roulette.
An inmate at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre who was told he has flesh-eating disease on his genitals is being treated in hospital, where he is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery this week.
Marlon Gidluck's family is accusing jail officials of delaying treatment, causing him to suffer needlessly.
Gidluck, 22, compares the damage done by the infection as being akin to putting his penis "in a pencil sharpener." Half of his penis had to be removed to clear away dead tissue and infected areas.
That operation took place last Thursday and he has since been on antibiotics and forced to carry around a colostomy bag.
On Friday, he is slated to go under the knife once again, when a section of skin and tissue will be taken from his leg and grafted on what is left of his penis.
Gidluck, who had three months left on a five-month sentence for robbery, is apprehensive about returning to jail after his surgery.
"I'm just terrified of going back and getting re-infected," he said before being told by a corrections guard to be silent with the media.
If he spoke again, Gidluck was told he could face a disciplinary charge upon his return to the jail. Despite his requests to speak, he was told it was against corrections policy. Security was then called to escort the media and Gidluck's mom, Sheila Steele, out of the room.
That left Steele fuming about jail officials, whom she blames for her son's suffering because of their delay in helping him.
Gidluck first noticed a pimple on his penis on Oct. 28 and submitted a medical request. It wasn't until Tuesday that he was taken to see a nurse in the jail. She immediately sent him to City Hospital, where he was given antibiotics and sent back.
"The next morning he couldn't even walk" because his genital area was so swollen and turning a discoloured blue," said Steele. "His (testicles) were like grapefruits and you couldn't even see his penis because the area around it was so inflated."
Gidluck was taken back to the hospital and given more antibiotics. Once the swelling decreased, doctors cut away some dead skin and tested it. A plastic surgeon delivered the bad news.
Steele was told it was necrotizing fasciitis, that it is contagious and potentially fatal. They were also informed it has a two-day gestation period, which would mean Gidluck contracted it in jail.
But jail officials are not prepared to take blame, and are not talking about it.
Phone calls placed to the correctional centre Wednesday were not returned.
Steele has been told staff would not comment.
Gidluck was also accused by one of the jail guards of bringing on the disease by shooting up through his penis, said Richard Klassen, a close family friend.
"They're trying to claim innocence by making it his fault," he said.
Gidluck has a criminal record for drugs, petty thefts and breaches. But any suggestion he is "using" in jail is preposterous, said Steele.
A guard for correctional services, who asked not to be named, said the jail is "buzzing" with talk about the disease and has been for a week.
"That means they must have known about it all along yet they kept Marlon from a doctor," said Klassen.
"If they acted quicker this could have been avoided," added Steele, who is worried for the other inmates.
Gidluck was living in a crowded area with several dozen men about two weeks before his infection surfaced. The men all slept in one big room and shared two bathrooms.
Steele said she is also frustrated by the mixed messages she is getting from hospital staff. On Wednesday, a nurse said the disease wasn't necrotizing fasciitis but a lesser infection called cellulitis, an acute but non-contagious skin inflammation.
The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation notes the two may be indistinguishable in early stages, but necrotizing fasciitis is much more deadly and a delayed diagnosis can cost valuable time, making it too late to save the patient.
The family has not heard if the diagnosis has changed and neither has Gidluck.
No one with Saskatoon District Health or Public Health was offering an explanation either.
Justice Department spokesperson Jeff Bohach says public health has assessed the situation and determined there is no threat to other inmates at the correctional centre. Even so, the department is not certain what disease Gidluck picked up.
"We're not privy to his medical information, just what public health tells us," he said. "They tell us there is no health risk."
Steele is not taking any chances. She plans to ask another specialist to look at her son and is demanding his records along with a tissue sample. She has also hired a lawyer.
Gidluck began refusing antibiotics late Wednesday hoping to pressure hospital staff into clearing up the confusion. If it is cellulitis, it is rather harmless and wouldn't require all the medication he is being asked to take, Gidluck said.
"And it wouldn't have required him having to have half of his penis cut off," added Steele.
She believes the obstacles she is encountering are due to an Internet site she and Klassen have published the past three years. Injusticebusters.com is critical of many of the police, prosecutors and judges who have been involved over the past decade in the infamous Martensville scandal.
An inmate at the Saskatoon correctional centre has come down with the potentially-deadly flesh eating disease. However, jail officials say they aren't concerned about the disease spreading to other inmates. Steve Ruckavina has the story...and a caution here...some listeners might find details disturbing.
Marlon Gidluck describes the horrible agony he has been through. Gidluck has a serious form of necrotizing fasciitis. His form of the disease is not as serious as the one that afflicted former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard. But it is life-threatening and very painful. Gidluck says initially his concerns were not taken seriously by jail staff.
"They were denying receiving my medical request. They just said they never got it."
It took two days before Gidluck was seen by a doctor. A spokesperson for the Justice department said he could not comment on an inmate's medical history. However he did say that nurses are available fro inmates to see on a daily basis. The province's medical health officer says the risk to other inmates is low. David Butler-Jones says the virus that carries the disease is the same one that carries strep throat. he says the difference is all in an individual's immune system.
"That's why you'll see one person end up with necrotizing fasciitis and the other 99 people have the same infection and all they end up with is a sore throat." Butler-Jones says if any other inmates show similar symptoms they can be treated with antibiotics. As for Gidluck, he'll have to undergo more surgery on his genitals tomorrow to rid his body of the disease.
inJusticebusters appreciate the media who have brought publicity to this story. Since the media has paid attention, Marlon has felt more secure, although he is still scared of reprisals. As of Sunday (Nov. 11) we have no indication that the Correctional is going to tell the truth or that any measures have been taken to protect other inmates.
It is important that they retract the rumour that Marlon somehow gave this infection to himself. It is also important that they recognize the right of prisoners to the same medical care as we expect to receive on the outside.
SASKATOON - A 22 year old inmate at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre will be spending the next week in hospital.
Doctors performed emergency surgery on Marlon Gidluck after he contracted a flesh-eating disease in his genital area.
He underwent three rounds of surgery to remove and recontruct his genitals.
Gidluck's mother says she still doesn't know whether her son will ever recuperate fully.
Sheila Steele says corrections officials are doing little to answer questions about how Gidluck caught the bacteria, or why there was a two- day delay between his initial request for medical attention -- and the time he was actually seen by a nurse.
"If he had been seen by a nurse on Sunday when he first requested it, he would probably still have his penis. All of it. They wouldn't have had to have done all this.", she said.
Steele says she's also worried about other inmates.
She says before her son showed any signs of the flesh-eating disease, he shared bathubs and toilets in a dormitory with 30 other men.
But Health and Corrections officials say Gidluck's disease is not a threat to other inmates.