Va. inmate seeks pardon based on heart-health problems

Prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate health care, and since 2009, surgeons at the VCU Medical Center have twice implanted the LVAD in the inmate's chest


By Frank Green
Richmond Times-Dispatch

POWHATAN, Va. — The high-tech pump that keeps Jason C. Smallwood's failing heart running is the same model implanted last year in former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Smallwood, however, is a Virginia prison inmate serving 11 years for drug convictions.

Prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate health care, and since 2009, surgeons at the VCU Medical Center have twice implanted the left ventricle assist device, or LVAD, in Smallwood's chest.

"Without it, I pretty much wouldn't be here," said Smallwood, a healthy-looking, 6-foot-1, 27-year-old Portsmouth native who is serving his sentence at the Powhatan Correctional Center.

Full Story: Va. inmate seeks pardon based on heart-health problems

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