Published on: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

This case, at its heart, is about the adequacy of medical treatment for state inmates with chronic Hepatitis C ("HCV") viral infections. Because of the high cost of treatment for hepatitis C, Tennessee prison officials provide medication only for inmates with the most severe and advanced cases. A group of inmates sued arguing that this deliberate indifference has led to inmates' acute physical suffering and, if continued, will lead to irreversible physical harm, including eventual death. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that while the best practice would be to treat every sick prisoner, that is not possible in the real world of limited resources. No Eighth Amendment or other statutory rights violation here. The dissent disagreed reasoning that if prisons cannot afford to house inmates in conformity with the Constitution, those inmates should be released.