A $15 million lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died at the Oregon State Penitentiary accuses prison staff of failing to treat the 54-year-old inmate for flu and then covering up his flu-related death.
The Statesman Journal reported that Michael Barton, of Medford, Oregon, was already experiencing mental illness and dementia when he came down with the flu in January 2018.
According to the lawsuit, he did not receive a flu vaccine at the prison in 2018 or in 2017.
Within a month of becoming sick, Barton was dead.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed on behalf of Barton’s brother Stephen Brown, accuses the Oregon Department of Corrections medical staff and officials of negligence, civil rights violations, disability discrimination and ruining or destroying evidence surrounding Barton’s death.
Prison officials declined to comment on the allegations made in the lawsuit or the Disability Rights Oregon review, citing the pending litigation.
The prison’s chief medical officer concluded that Barton died from Influenza B, which led to MRSA empyema, which led to sepsis, which led to severe septic shock, which led to cardiopulmonary arrests, multisystem organ failure and severe anoxic brain injury.
Barton entered state custody in 2017 after being convicted of robbing a Medford bank.
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