Family of Medford man sues Dept. of Corrections for $15 million

MEDFORD, Ore. — 15 million dollars.

That’s how much money the family of a Medford man says they’re entitled to after their loved one died at the Oregon Department of Corrections in 2018.

The lawsuit filed late January accuses staff at the Oregon State Penitentiary of being negligent in the care and treatment of inmate, Michael Barton.

Barton was convicted in 2017 of robbing the Wells Fargo Bank at the corner of Riverside and Barnett.

According to court documents, Barton, came down with the flu while in prison and his condition worsened.

At one point, it says he was “too weak” to stand, walk, or get out of bed without help but was told he could not be admitted into or treated at the infirmary.

The 54-year-old was eventually taken to a hospital “barely alive,” according to the complaint.

The complaint says he died from the flu which turned into pneumonia, a staph infection leading to sepsis, septic shock, cardiac arrest, and a lack of oxygen to his brain.

The lawsuit claims his death could have been avoided had staff monitored his medications as well as timely and accurately diagnosed his illnesses.

The complaint also says staff initially did not order an autopsy and disposed of Barton’s body and other evidence.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections tells us they won’t comment on pending litigation. But as far as policy goes, they say flu vaccines are optional if inmates choose to receive them.

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