Timeline of Eric’s Food and Medical Situation
March 2, 2006 – Eric stops purchasing food from the jail commissary to supplement his diet, reasoning that it is the jail's responsibility to provide inmates with proper nutrition. This means, in esence, that Eric has almost no source of protein. The only food he now has access to is the little food he can pull off his meal trays – occasionally some frozen fruit and bread.
March 8, 2006 – Eric begins hunger strike to secure access to vegan food
March 22 – Eric ends his hunger strike after two weeks, with no recognition of any kind from the jail, due to his inability to focus on his case, communicate with his lawyer, friends and family. He is surviving off what little food he can pull from his meal trays.
March 2006 – Eric files suit to secure access to vegan food
April 21, 2006 - Eric becomes very ill and needs to see a doctor. He is passing out, losing weight rapidly and is unable to hold down most of what little vegan food he is given. A doctor and nutritional nurse within the jail both suggest that Eric be given vegan protein shakes, yet the jail continues to pretend that they are unable to accommodate his health and nutritional needs. Eric has not seen a doctor in over a week and his health has not improved. The cause of Eric’s poor health is not known because he is not getting proper medical attention.
April 24, 2006 - After over 100 days of incarceration, Eric finally receives his first vegan meal. He is also finally seen by a doctor (that does little other than take his blood and urine).
April 15, 2007 – Eric suffers his first attack of pericarditis, a medical condition caused by a swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane that surrounds your heart. This condition often causes chest pain, difficulty breathing, and other signs and symptoms.
April 16, 2007 – Directly before his hearing on pre-trial motions is set to occur, the US Marshals have Eric sent to the UC Davis Medical Center for further testing and treatment of his pericarditis. He spends the day at the hospital undergoing a series of tests, but it is decided that they will not be able to determine the cause of the pericarditis without bloodwork, which they cannot do in the emergency room. Eric is sent back to the jail that evening, with a request from the doctors that the jail do blood work. That blood work has never been done.
August 31, 2007 – After 16 months of providing Eric with vegan food, the jail abruptly stops bringing Eric vegan meals one week before his trial begins.
November 9, 2007 – Eric is woken in the early morning by another bout of pericarditis. He is having chest pains, trouble breathing, and is unable to lie down. Because of this, he goes out for sick call and is given an EKG. The jail doctor tells him that he is fine and that he NEVER had pericarditis - in direct contradiction to the diagnosis from the doctors at UC Davis Medical Center in the spring. When Eric asks to see the results of the EKG, the doctor refuses and sends him back to his cell. Later, Eric requests to see the doctor again and they refuse to see him. Eric's lawyer files a memo with the court and sends it to Scott Jones (the jail commander) and the US Marshals Service.
Because his medical condition is almost certainly linked to his atrocious nutritional intake, and because it is the jail’s responsibility to provide inmates with healthy food they can eat, Eric decides to begin a hunger strike, once again, to gain access to vegan food.
At 8:00 that evening Eric is called out to talk to a sergeant who discusses his medical situation with him. After this conversation, the sergeant sends Eric back to medical to be seen by a doctor. The doctor (a different doctor than the one he saw earlier in the day) takes his vitals and acknowledges that he had pericarditis in the spring. She asks him if this feels like the same thing, and Eric says that it does. The doctor says she will request that blood work, an ECG, and an x-ray be done. She also goes over with him the medication he received in the past and says she will put in a request that he begin receiving it again. The jail offers Eric medication at around 9:30 pm, but he does not take it, as he is unsure how it will affect him due to his hunger strike (Eric has since sent a request to the jail medical staff asking them what adverse affects this medication could have due to his hunger strike, but the only response they have sent back did not answer his question, and claimed that he never had pericarditis). When Eric tries to discuss the cause of the pericarditis (more than likely, his diet) the doctor is evasive and sends him back to his cell.
When Eric’s vitals are taken, he discovers he has lost 20 pounds since the jail stopped feeding him vegan food in September. This means he is beginning his hunger strike with an already weakened body and immune system.
November 13, 2007 - Eric requests to see the nurse because his kidneys hurt and his right tonsil is inflamed and bleeding.
November 14, 2007 - Eric is seen by the nurse, but they refuse to examine his kidneys or his tonsils and only take his vitals. He weighs 152 pounds, which means he has lost 8 pounds since Friday, November 9.
November 16, 2007 – Eric is taken back to medical
where they check his vital signs and weigh him. They finally give
him an x-ray, but do not share the results with him, or even show
him the x-ray. He is down to 150 pounds. The medical staff tells him
they will be checking his vital signs every day, but haven’t
done it since that time.