Former Massachusetts House Speaker and longtime North End representative, Sal DiMasi, was denied medical treatment in prison for cancer, according to a recent legal filing by his attorney. DiMasi will begin radiation on his tongue for the cancer, now at Stage 4, impacting his ability to speak and eat through his mouth. This procedure will be followed by seven weeks of chemotherapy. The cancer has spread to his lymph nodes and perhaps his stomach, which decreases his chances for recovery.
The filing says that DiMasi, serving his sentence in Kentucky, asked repeatedly for medical care after lumps surfaced on his neck last December. Despite extensive travel for a federal grand jury appearance earlier this year regarding the Mass. Probation Department investigation, DiMasi did not receive any testing until April 24, 2012. He is currently undergoing treatment in North Carolina.
Current State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, a former aide of DiMasi, won a special election in 2009 after the former Speaker stepped down from the 3rd Suffolk District seat that represents the North End / Waterfront, Chinatown and South End neighborhoods.
Rep. Michlewitz made the following comments to the Boston Herald: “I certainly think they should make medical treatments as easy as possible and allow his family to be with him as much as possible during these tough times. Getting him closer to home is an appropriate step. Many people know Sal is a resilient person and is going to fight this cancer just like everything else he’s done in his career. A lot of people are thinking about him and keeping him in their prayers.”
Governor Patrick is also quoted in the same Herald story as not considering lobbying President Obama for clemency. “Seriously? No. That’s not my place, and I’m not going to do that.”
The legal motion describing the medical issues was filed to extend DiMasi’s appeal until August 2012. An excerpt is shown below: