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State to pay $3.25 million over Monroe inmate’s death

MONROE — The state will pay a $3.25 million wrongful death settlement to the family of a Monroe Corrections Complex prisoner who died from an uncared-for abdominal wound.
John Kleutsch was recovering from renal cancer, but after returning to prison, his situation worsened and the wound grew. The surgery had complications, including a leftover incision on the abdominal wound. This worsened over time, with Kleutsch in severe pain, but he was only given Tylenol, according to both the lawsuit papers against the Department of Corrections.
He died Aug. 27, 2018.
The prison’s medical director at the time was Dr. Julia Barnett, who in October 2018 was put on leave and later fired in April 2019. In 2020, she saw her
medical license indefinitely suspended by state medical authorities.
She was being investigated for four prisoner patients who died under her watch, and two others who were mistreated. Each should have been transferred to a hospital to receive more intense levels of care, said a disciplinary panel of the state medical commission.
Kleutsch’s situation mirrors a case of an unnamed man described in charging papers from the state medical commission. The panel wrote that Barnett’s “substandard care caused Patient D to unnecessarily suffer in the last weeks of his life.”
Barnett allegedly denied a nurse’s recommendation to send Kleutsch to a hospital weeks before his death, according to both the lawsuit papers and the medical commission charging report against Barnett.
As the hole in his abdomen worsened, Kleutsch was eventually taken to EvergreenHealth Monroe hospital, where the doctors there immediately had him sent to Virginia Mason in Seattle for critical care. He died five days later of sepsis, acute pancreatitis and a perforated abdomen, lawsuit papers say.
The Seattle Times broke the story of the settlement. The case was filed in King County Superior Court.




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