SEATTLE - The Washington Corrections Department has agreed to pay $740,000 to the family of a state penitentiary inmate who died after his body was ravaged by flesh-eating bacteria.
The Seattle Times reports that 26-year-old Ricardo Mejia died in January 2011. State records show he had complained for weeks about pain and a rash.
In a lawsuit, the man's family contends staff at the penitentiary at Walla Walla misdiagnosed the problem. The suit claims medical providers ignored obvious signs of infection until the man "literally rotted to death under their care through negligence and deliberate indifference."
The Times says the settlement did not include an admission of wrongdoing. A state Health Department investigation found "deficiencies" in Mejia's care.
Corrections spokeswoman Norah West says the death caused her agency to order several changes at the prison, including more clearly identifying a doctor for each inmate and educating all staff about flesh-eating bacteria.
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