Another judge wants answers about inmate’s medical care

WOODSTOCK — A jail inmate and his wife continued Friday to ask that he be freed on bond to allow him to receive anti-anxiety medication they say jail officials have denied to him.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp rejected the plea for reduced bail but said he wants jail superintendent William Wilson to inform him about the details of how the jail is administering medication for Reece Kirk Varney Jr.

“I’m going to direct the superintendent of the jail to send a letter to me stating what medication is being given to Mr. Varney, at what times, and, if it is being withheld, exactly why it is being withheld,” Hupp said.

It was the second time in less than a month that a judge in Shenandoah County has put the jail staff on notice that Varney should be receiving proper medication for anxiety and other ailments.

General District Court Judge Amy Tisinger asked the jail’s medical staff to review its policies on medication management and work with Varney to ensure “that any medical issues of the defendant are properly dealt with during the pendency of his incarceration.”

Varney, 66, of New Market, was indicted by a grand jury Friday on charges of malicious wounding and hit and run driving linked to a Sept. 5 incident in which authorities say he ran his three-wheeled motorcycle into another man.

Mary Jane Varney repeated some of the testimony she gave to Tisinger about her failed efforts to bring legally prescribed medications to Reece Varney at the jail. In addition to anxiety, Mary Jane Varney testified in Tisinger’s court that her husband suffers from depression and difficulty breathing.

Mary Jane Varney told Hupp that the jail staff rebuffed her again when she tried to bring Reece Varney’s anti-anxiety medication to him after Tisinger’s request.

Mary Jane Varney said she subsequently spoke with Wilson, who presented her with a release form authorizing the jail’s physician to speak to her husband’s psychiatrist about obtaining a substitute prescription for Varney’s current anti-anxiety medication.

Mary Jane Varney said Wilson told her that the current medication is unacceptable.

“He and a nurse told me that no jail anywhere would let an inmate have a controlled substance like that,” Varney testified.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristen Zalenski urged Hupp to deny Reece Varney a second chance at release from the jail after the defendant violated conditions of an earlier bond that led to a short-lived release from the jail in early September.

Zalenski said no one from the jail was in the courtroom to respond to Mary Jane Varney’s statements that the jail staff is denying medication to her husband.

“The jail might have reasons for doing that,” Zalenski said.

Wilson said in an interview with The Northern Virginia Daily in November that federal patient privacy laws prevented him from speaking about the details of Varney’s case.

Wilson said doctors can be asked to find alternative prescriptions for drugs that are banned in jail. Wilson said any drugs prescribed for inmates must be obtained from the jail’s medical staff and none are allowed from outside.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com