(WJBK) - A 20-year-old jailed for sex trafficking may not live to see his trial because of what's happening to him behind bars, his mother tells Fox 2.
"Every day that we wait he's getting sicker. He needs help," said Tia Sumner.
Her son Demetrius Manderfield has sickle beta thalassemia -- a very serious and rare genetic condition.
Normally he receives a blood transfusion every three weeks, but now he's locked up and, his mother says, locked out from the medical care he needs.
"He can die from his disease, from not getting transfusions," she said. "He hasn't had a blood transfusion in three months and he hasn't had his iron overload medicine in four months. He's suffering from a sickle cell crisis and he's been refused medical treatment."
Manderfield was arrested in November and charged with sex trafficking, accused of pimping out a 15-year-old runaway.
At first he was held in Midland, where he was given one blood transfusion back in December.
Now he's being held at the federal prison in Milan and instead of getting another transfusion, he was given Ibuprofen for his pain.
"Not only do we have to be worried about the charges but we have to be worried about him not even being alive to stand trial, which makes no sense to me," Sumner said.
A letter from his physician at the DMC to U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy calls his condition life-threatening and recommends medication as well as monthly transfusions, adding in all caps "this needs to be started ASAP."
A statement from the court on behalf of the judge reads:
"Judge Levy has been well aware of Mr. Manderfield's situation since a court hearing in early March and has followed up with the U.S. Marshals service and the medical staff at the Milan Detention Center."
Sumner says she doesn't understand why it's so hard for him to get help.
"We're just asking for him to get the medical care he so deserves," she said.
While prison officials have not responded to Fox 2's questions and request for comment, Manderfield's attorney was notified that Demetrius is now scheduled to see an oncology hematology specialist.
"Just because they're there does not mean they're animals. There are people who love them. They are someone's son, someone's father, someone's cousin, brother -- they don't deserve it. It's not right."
The next court date on the case is March 29.
Manderfield's mother is hoping and praying he receives the medical care he needs well before that.