NORTH ADAMS -- A cancer survivor who says she hasn't gotten proper medical treatment while in jail has been denied a reduced sentence.
Jacqueline Andrews, 54, of Pittsfield, is currently serving a 42-month sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on larceny and other charges. The woman, who had a mastectomy of her right breast in 2011, alleges that five days after being sentenced to jail an exam revealed multiple cysts in her other breast. The cysts have never was biopsied, she said.
In a hearing on Wednesday before Northern Berkshire District Court Judge Michael J. Ripps, the medical director of the jail defended the facility's treatment of Andrews.
Dr. Richard Clarke said after jail officials were provided with the April radiologist's report concerning the cysts, a follow-up exam was scheduled for August. No cysts or solid masses were detected in that exam.
"All the cysts are gone ... only four months later?" Andrews' attorney, Thomas Pagliarulo, asked the doctor, who replied: "I can't answer that. ... Cysts come and go."
Clarke said Andrews' breast was normal "for a woman of her age" and that she was under the direct care of an oncologist.
The jail, the doctor said, was following the treatment recommendations of the radiologist and oncologist and that "no one has ever recommended a biopsy."
He provided a letter from the oncologist, which states that the mastectomy of the right breast was "curative" and that a biopsy was not recommended for the other breast.
"It's a wonderful prognosis," said Clarke. "It's what anyone would want to hear."
Andrews also took the stand, telling the court that the August exam, the most recent she has received, was only a partial exam of one specific area of her breast that she had concerns about.
Clarke told the court he believed it had been a comprehensive exam of the entire breast.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler told the court the jail provided Andrews with the medical care the radiologist and oncologist recommended. He asked that the sentence remain in place.
Andrews was sentenced in April to 42 months in jail on multiple charges, including larceny, use of a stolen credit card and forgery of a check, stemming from two separate cases.
Williamstown and North Adams police alleged in February 2010 Andrews used a debit card and forged and then cashed a payroll check belonging to a woman whose purse had been stolen from her workplace in Williamstown.
The crimes resulted in charges in both Williamstown and North Adams. In a 2012 case, police said Andrews used a stolen credit card at a Williamstown convenience store.
The motion to revise and revoke did not specify whether Andrews was asking for the judge to release her immediately, but it does imply as much. "Ms. Andrews does not want to die in jail or face a life-threatening illness from the confines of a jail cell," her attorney wrote in the motion.
"From what I can tell she's receiving adequate medical care under the circumstances," Ripps said.
To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx