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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Grossly Disfigures Misdiagnosed Washington State Prisoner

by John E. Dannenberg

A Washington state prisoner who lay for two days in the Stafford Creek Correctional Facility infirmary in agonizing pain, with a rash covering his torso and slowly drifting into septic shock, had been misdiagnosed by infirmary staff as having only an allergic reaction to Robitussin (an over-the-counter cold medicine) and was treated solely with an ice pack, Benadryl and Medrol (an immune suppressant). No antibiotics were administered for the 60 hours he was being literally eaten alive by the bacteria consuming his internal soft tissue, penis, testicles and bones.

Charlie Manning, doing 13 months after a drunken argument with a neighbor, left prison with no penis, one testicle and minus six pounds of pelvic flesh. The sixty-year old Manning, a former house-painter with diagnosed mental illness and an IQ of 78, was at worst a chronic drunk.
When he arrived at Stafford Creek in July 2004, he developed an infected hemorrhoid, for which he received no medical attention for two days. By then, he was delusional, in pain, sleeping under his bunk. His genitals were swollen, he was bleeding from his rectum plus had the torso rash and a fever. Over the next two days, his blood pressure dropped as well (to 84/54, from 120/80 when he first arrived).

Stafford Creek’s head doctor, Dr. A. Muhammad Khurshid, stood by Manning’s bedside for a few hours after he was admitted, but no record of any examination exists. Specifically, no rectal examination was ever performed. Rather, Khurshid adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Two debilitating days later, he observed dead tissue on Manning’s penis and open sores on his scrotum, which he finally diagnosed as an infection, and had Manning hospitalized. At Gray’s Harbor Community Hospital, doctors diagnosed Fournier’s Gangrene, a necrotizing infection of the male genitalia with a known 25% mortality rate. Manning was forced to consent to his own dismemberment by doctors in order to save his life.
Over the next week, doctors continued to remove dead tissue to stop the spread of the infection. After four such “debridements,” scarring Manning from his ribs to his rectum, doctors fitted him with a replacement penis made from thigh skin. Even after 120 days in the hospital, his surgeries left him horribly disfigured and disabled. A friend described it as “being filleted like a salmon.”

Now suing in U.S. District Court (W.D. Wash.), Manning’s Seattle attorney Daniel DeLue said his client would never return to normal. Manning is permanently on 60 mg of morphine daily for his unending pain. DeLue and his experts claim that Khurshid’s delay in diagnosing Manning’s infection was the principal cause of the horrible outcome. DeLue added that prescribing immune-suppressing Medrol was “like putting gasoline on a fire.”

Pakistan-trained Khurshid’s medical reports reveal 11 complaints made against him to the State Department of Health since he came to the prison system in 2001. One complaint involved inadequate treatment for a severe case of MRSA, a deadly staph infection. In 2004, three months prior to Manning’s episode, Khurshid’s clinic was cited by health inspectors for poor infection control and delayed liver biopsies for Hepatitis-C cases.
Two years later, Khurshid was suspended without pay for three days by the prison system for taking a $10,000 bribe from drug companies. He left that job in August 2007 to set up a private business, Harbor Infectious Diseases, to act as a consultant on infection control. When contacted there recently, he denied misdiagnosing Manning. Manning, also contacted, said that he is not angry anymore, but is suing because he cannot even walk one block without severe pain, let alone work. The Seattle Times interviewed PLN Editor Paul Wright, who declared Manning’s mistreatment “the most outrageous case of medical neglect in a prison or jail in this country I’ve ever seen where a patient lived.” Manning’s suit seeks economic damages of $525,000, medical expenses to be determined, punitive damages of $5 million and attorney fees and costs -- totaling over $10 million. To add insult to injury, Manning was not discharged from the prison system when his date came due and is also suing for wrongful incarceration.

The case was dismissed by the federal district court in Tacoma, Washington where the court held no deliberate indifference had been shown. Manning has a negligence case against the prison system pending in state court in Thurston County. See: Manning v. State of Washington Department of Corrections, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Wash.) Case No. C07 5420 FDB.
The dismissal came despite lawyers from the Attorney general’s office submitted falsified evidence to the district court to support their summary judgment motion. Numerous documents relating to this case are posted on PLN’s website.

Additional source: Seattle Times.

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Related legal case

Manning v. State of Washington Department of Corrections