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Washington DOC Agrees to Settle Inadequate Medical Care Suit for $55,000

The State of Washington has agreed to settle a prisoner suit alleging deliberately indifferent medical care. The suit, filed in 2006, took almost two years to resolve.

Richard Hibdon sued the Stafford Creek Corrections Center, a Washington Department of Corrections facility, after he was given inadequate care for his back and back pain, and almost died as a result of appendicitis that went untreated.

While at Stafford Creek, Hibdon repeatedly complained about “chronic and degenerative back pain,” according to Hibdon’s complaint. Medical staff allegedly ignored Hibdon’s pleas, asserting that he was faking it.

An independent physician, Dr. Ali Akbar, recommended that Hibdon receive an MRI and be seen by an orthopedic specialist, but medical staff ignored Akbar’s recommendations, Hibdon’s complaint states.

Eventually, Hibdon received an MRI, and it confirmed what Hibdon had claimed and what Dr. Ali had suspected—that Hibdon had serious back and neck problems.

Aside from failing to treat Hibdon’s back problems, Hibdon alleged that he nearly died because medical staff failed to diagnose and treat his ruptured appendix timely. Despite having obvious signs of appendicitis, medical staff kept telling Hibdon that he had a “24-hour chest cold,” was “faking it,” or that he had been “rectally assaulted.”

Hibdon was not faking it, though. When his appendix was finally removed by doctors, “it was gangrenous,” Hibdon’s complaint states. Portions of Hibdon’s stomach also had to be removed because “of fluids that leaked out when his appendix ruptured.” Doctors told Hibdon that he was only hours away from dying.

The State agreed to settle the case for $55,000 on June 6, 2008. Hibdon was represented by Thomas Vertetis of Gordon, Thomas, Honeywell, Malanca, Peterson & Dalheim LLP, a Tacoma, Washington firm. See: Hibdon v. Stafford Creek Corrections Center, No. 06-2-13412-1 (Pierce County Sup. Ct.)

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Related legal case

Hibdon v. Stafford Creek Corrections Center

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.