A former US prisoner has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections (DOC), alleging that an infection ignored by prison doctors for long, resulted in his losing his penis and one testicle.
Charles Lee Manning, 60, contends the DOC and the medical staff at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen were negligent in treating an infection he contracted while he was an inmate there and violated his civil rights by not providing adequate medical care for his condition.
Later, when he was treated by doctors at Harborview Medical Center, they were able to save his life only by removing 6 pounds of flesh from his groin - he lost his penis and a testicle in the process.
''The least of his problems, he is now unable to work and is going to be in debilitating pain for the remainder of his shortened life,'' wrote Seattle-attorney Daniel DeLue, in a letter to the DOC he sent on Manning's behalf, proposing a $10 million settlement.
DOC officials Monday declined to comment on the allegations in the lawsuit, but in a statement said that the agency provides health care to 25,000 inmates annually at a cost of $111 million.
The statement also defended the quality of that care, stating the DOC hires qualified medical professionals.
Medical care in the state prison system has been an ongoing concern for inmates and their advocates.
In 2002, the family of an inmate at the McNeil Island Corrections Center was awarded $1 million in a wrongful-death settlement after alleging poor medical care at the facility led to the man's death, reports Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The doctor who saw Manning in prison, Dr. Muhammed A. Khurshid, no longer works for the DOC. Before he left the agency, his superiors suspended him for three days after he accepted money and other gifts from pharmaceutical companies at a time when he was in charge of buying drugs for the prison. He also was found to have violated department policy by opening a consulting business on the side, marketing himself as an expert on infectious diseases. Khurshid also is named as a defendant in several other lawsuits filed in federal court in which the quality of his medical care is questioned.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, Manning was incarcerated at Stafford Creek in March 2004 for a firearms violation. In early July 2004, Manning began to experience pain in his abdomen and rectal area, fever and bleeding from his rectum.
Though he requested medical care daily, it was four days before he was admitted into the prison infirmary and then another seven hours before Khurshid saw him, deciding that the symptoms were a reaction to cold medicine, according to the lawsuit.
DeLue said there was no record of Khurshid conducting a physical exam or any tests. Two days later, after Manning continued to complain of excruciating pain, Khurshid saw him again and this time diagnosed his condition as an infection.
Manning was driven to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in a police car. There, doctors immediately diagnosed Manning as having Fournier's gangrene, which can be fatal if untreated.
Fournier's gangrene, sometimes called Fournier's disease, is a bacterial infection of the skin that affects the genitals and perineum (i.e., area between the scrotum and anus in men and between the vulva and anus in women). The disease develops after a wound or abrasion becomes infected.
Manning was rushed to Harborview, where doctors had to perform the radical surgery to save his life.
Manning, a Vietnam veteran, has since been released from prison. He had previously lived an active life of hiking, fishing and working as an itinerant laborer, mostly as a painter. Now, DeLue said, Manning can barely walk, much less work. He lives in Mason County in a trailer he shares with his brother.
''No one would even touch this guy because they view him as subhuman,'' DeLue said, adding, ''When even basic medical care is not provided because they don't even want to touch a person, that is totally unacceptable.''