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Attorney: Sal DiMasi’s Cancer Has Spread, Care Came Late

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Sal DiMasi answers questions outside federal court, June 15, 2011. (Photo by Bernice Corpuz)

Sal DiMasi answers questions outside federal court, June 15, 2011. (Photo by Bernice Corpuz)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Convicted former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi’s tongue cancer has spread and he was denied medical care for months, his attorney announced Wednesday.

DiMasi, 66, was diagnosed with cancer in his tongue and lymph nodes back in April. He’s currently serving an 8-year sentence for corruption at a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky.

In papers filed in the First Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, his attorney Tom Kiley stated that DiMasi noticed “several lumps on his neck” back in December and that the “preliminary diagnosis was that the lumps were potentially cancerous.”

Read: DiMasi Filing (.pdf)

“Before further testing could be done on the lumps on his neck, he was transported from Kentucky, through other federal detention facilities, to the federal detention facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island for his appearance before a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Massachusetts,” Kiley wrote.

“At each detention facility Mr. DiMasi passed through, he requested medical treatment and asked that the tests that were supposed to have been done in Kentucky be performed.”

“He received no such treatment or testing” until April 24, Kiley claimed, when DiMasi was sent to the University of Kentucky Hospital to see a cancer specialist.

“Dr. Gal had found a lesion on Mr. DiMasi’s tongue, suspected that the involvement of the lymph nodes may be a sign of a cancer spreading and worried that the biopsy had been delayed too long,” Kiley wrote in the filing.

“Dr. Gal explained several treatment options to Mr. DiMasi, but no plan was communicated to him for treatment. He continued to wait – scared and frustrated – but nothing seemed to be happening.”

Kiley said DiMasi was transferred to a federal medical center in North Carolina June 6.

“Mr. DiMasi is preparing to begin radiation on his tongue – which will be quite painful and affect his ability to speak. He will be unable to eat and will require a feeding tube placed in his stomach. After the radiation is completed, Mr. DiMasi will undergo seven (7) weeks of Chemotherapy,” Kiley wrote.

He is asking for more time for DiMasi to appeal his conviction.

There has been no comment yet from federal prison authorities on Kiley’s claims.

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