Wife of Sal DiMasi Fears the Former House Speaker Husband will Die In Prison

Deborah DiMasi opened up in a TV interview about the health of the former speaker.

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The wife of imprisoned former House Speaker Sal DiMasi told WGBH on Monday that her husband’s health is deteriorating and, in addition to his previous cancer diagnosis, he may also have prostate cancer.

Deborah DiMasi told Jim Braude on Greater Boston that her biggest fear is that her husband will die alone in prison as his health problems increase. According to reports, cancer was discovered in DiMasi’s tongue and lymph nodes in 2012. He’s been undergoing cancer treatment in prison. In 2013, Deborah DiMasi told the Globe her husband’s cancer had gone undiagnosed for months as he was transferred between prisons.

“Right now he has five minutes to eat. Eating is incredibly difficult for him. He has stenosis of the esophagus, he’s has to keep having dilations because he has choking episodes, his muscles have atrophied,” said Deborah DiMasi.

The former House Speaker has lost 60 pounds of muscle and not gained it back while waiting three months for a biopsy, she said.

Braude pointed out there’s some irony in the fact that the man who championed a landmark universal health insurance law—which became the blueprint for Obamacare—is getting substandard health care in a federal prison. A recent Globe column noted that mentions of DiMasi were conspicuously missing last week when the Supreme Court issued major rulings on marriage equality and Obamacare, something he was instrumental in advocating for while speaker.

Deborah DiMasi said that she thinks her husband’s incarceration has “punitive the whole time.” She believes that because of his health situation he is eligible for what’s known as compassionate release.

DiMasi has been held at prisons in Kentucky and North Carolina, far from Boston and his family. She said his family has not seen the former House Speaker in over a year because of financial and logistical issues.

“There’s no good reason that he shouldn’t be here,” said Debroah DiMasi.

DiMasi resigned as speaker in 2009. In 2011 he was convicted on federal corruption charges for directing state contracts to the now defunct Canadian software company Cognos. DiMasi is scheduled to be released from prison in November 2018.

Watch the full interview.