The patient in red scrubs has a history of heart attacks and deep vein thrombosis. He’s on oxygen, and barely lifts his head as a physician listens to his heart. Out on the street, he’s capable of drinking a half-gallon of cheap booze a day.
Not here, though, in the acute medical unit of the Salt Lake County Metro Jail. After the brief exam, the man is returned to his modest hospital bed in a one-person cell with glass doors and windows.
The medical facility — including a mental health unit — is basically a hospital, with sophisticated labs and a pharmacy but without surgical suites. Inmates can receive rudimentary dental care, mostly extractions of teeth damaged by wear, lack of hygiene or drug abuse, particularly methamphetamine.