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$60,000 Settlement for Washington Prisoner Injured by Chemical Spill

The State of Washington paid $60,000 to settle a prisoner’s claim that he was injured due to a chemical spill.

While working in the kitchen at the McNeil Island Correction Center, prisoner George D. Douglas reached for a chemical bottle to clean stainless steel. The bottle was on a shelf above the sink area. It contained Hepastat 256 cleaner, a disinfectant, sanitizer, fungicide, virucide and deodorizer. In contradiction to proper use, it was full strength rather than diluted.

Douglas grabbed the bottle by the handle/sprayer attachment. Because the attachment had stripped threads, the bottle fell into the sink, causing the chemical to shoot up into Douglas’s eyes and nose. With the assistance of other prisoners, he washed his eyes out from the sink top. It took a guard 10 to 15 minutes to arrive and take him to an eyewash.

Although Douglas received proper medical care, the chemical wrought permanent damage. He continues to suffer respiratory problems, especially upon being exposed to strong chemicals like bleach. His right eye suffered permanent vision loss, it waters and burns sporadically, and it requires eye drops. He requires glasses and has to avoid bright light.

Acting pro se, Douglas settled his claim for the damage done to him by the chemical spill on October 9, 2008. See: Washington State Division of Risk Management, Claim No. 31060420.

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Related legal case

In re Douglas

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