South African prisoner hospitalised and badly ill 13 days from release

A couple of days ago we got a phone call that Lewis Charles Cornelius was taken to the hospital Victor Ramos Guardia in Huaraz. The 56-year-old who is suffering from H.I.V. has almost completed his 12-year-long prison sentence which he gained for trying to smuggle 17 kilos and 211 grams of cocaine hydrochloride from Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima.

We were informed that Lewis was taken to the hospital on the 25th of January because he was coughing up blood which seemed to be an inflammatory condition of one of his lungs. After a couple of tests, the South African was diagnosed with an inflammation of the appendix (appendicitis) and thus he was operated the same night. When Lewis woke up he said to be fine but 24 hours later his belly had swollen like a pregnant woman and was throwing up greenish yellow bile. Lewis cannot take food at the moment because of his situation, however he said to feel a bit better now and just hoped that the doctors hadn’t messed him up.

He had also taken two tuberculosis skin tests which resulted negative. A third sample was taken the day before our visit but the result was unknown at the time of publishing. Lewis was sure not to suffer from TBC although a negative test does not always mean that a person is free of tuberculosis. Skin tests should be read 48-72 hours after the injection and are used to determine if someone has developed an immune response to the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

Due to Lewis´s poor understanding of Spanish, on various occasions he told us to feel like a guinea pig, and not to have much faith in the doctors. Lewis said to think that he might see out the rest of his sentence in the hospital, although we were informed that within a week he will probably be send back to the Victor Perez Liendo Prison.

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