Betsie Gallardo, the HIV-positive woman serving five years in a Florida prison, has been transferred from the prison infirmary to a Miami hospital, reports her mother Jessica Bussert. The transfer was made so Gallardo could begin receiving Total Parenteral Nutrition I.V. treatment.
“Betsie is finally being fed, and thank God for that!” Bussert wrote in an email update Thursday morning. “She is very weak and thin, and I’m not sure how much longer she could have held on. I just saw her last night and I’ll be back later today.”
Gallardo was diagnosed with stage four gall bladder cancer earlier this year, and while she has received treatment in prison, the cancer has spread to her intestines. There, the cancer created a tumor which has blocked her intestines — making it impossible for her to hold food and water down. However, Bussert says prison officials were refusing to provide her daughter with I.V. nutrition.
As a result of the prison officials’ lack of care, Bussert came forward publicly to fight for her daughter. Prison officials started an I.V. saline line over the holiday weekend, and Bussert was able to spend time with Gallardo. Bussert also demanded that the state of Florida release her daughter on compassionate grounds, so she could take her home to die surrounded by family and friends.
On Christmas Eve, a group of Florida lawmakers sent a letter to the Parole Commission asking that they consider Gallardo’s case in an emergency session, rather than in their regularly scheduled February session. Officials then announced the commission would review Gallardo’s case on Jan. 5.