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Abuse of Discretion -






© 2012 Steven Darby McDonald


  1. Mr. McDonald is now 58 years old, and his health failing, due in part to the systemic medical neglect he has suffered from while confined to the Washington State Department of Corrections. Shortly before his arrest he was being worked up for treatment for his Hepatitis C infection. After conviction he was transferred to Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington, where he provided the medical records showing he was being scheduled for treatment. The medical director there, Dr. Ronald Fleck, refused to allow him to be treated despite being approved by the gastroenterologist Dr. Harri, and psychiatrist, Dr. Grubb, later in 2000 because he said, “We don’t waste money and treat the dead.” Meaning because he had a mandatory life sentence, there was no reason to treat him. Dr. Fleck ensured this result was followed by deliberately altering his medications to cause instability and later stopping them altogether.


  1. While housed at WSP several of the medical staff made improper sexual advances towards Mr. McDonald. The then medical director, Dr. Ronald Fleck, was one of these. Later when he reported this to the Superintendent by letter, he was infracted and charged with “sexual harassment” to stifle his complaints.


  1. Dr. Fleck also made improper sexual advances towards staff working in the clinic. Lawsuits were filed which resulted in his settling these claims for financial compensation according to Department of Health records. Yet because Mr. McDonald was a prisoner his complaints of malfeasance against Dr. Fleck were ignored.


  1. Due to this systemic neglect, Steve has had to be sent to outside medical specialists for evaluations and treatment over 35 times. This involves all costs associated with transportation which requires two correctional officers to transport him to and from his appointments and remaining overnight if required for surgeries. So far, he has had four major surgeries. (See Medical Records Section/New Civil Actions)


  1. According to a Transition Plan, WA/DOC document dated March 7, 2007 show Steve was transferred to Monroe Correctional Complex to receive a higher level of medical care and treatments that were not available at WSP in Walla Walla. His medical costs will now escalate as he has been diagnosed as suffering from “Advanced End-State Liver Disease” (ESLD), and a “pre-cancerous left lung neoplasm.” His April 2010 PT scan states in part that his “lung nodule should continue to be followed with serial CTs (CT scans) to assure that it remains stable over time”. Besides receiving serial CT scans of his lung, he also requires serial ultrasounds of his liver “every six months because of his elevated alkaline phosphatase level and cirrhotic appearance on his liver biopsy and ultrasound.” (See Medical Records section on this site, PT scan/January 2010, Office Visit at Western Washington Medical Group (viz 2/19/09, 1/28/10)


  1. Additionally he has multiple diagnoses of advanced end-stage liver disease (ESLD) from multiple providers. His January 2010 Report by medical specialist Sujoy K. Ghorai, MD, found his “biliary dilation on previous MR and CT (MRI and CT SCANS) may be of clinical significance in terms of his right upper quadrant pain. We will review these numbers when available.” Yet these facts and recommendations expressed by medical experts have been ignored by the WA/DOC to save funding, in turn causing Steve to suffer needlessly from excruciating abdominal pains. Because of this abuse he has been trying to obtain an attorney to file a civil suit for pain and suffering caused by medical negligence and deliberate indifference which has been inflicted by convicted drug addicts and convicted pedophiles, and other WA/DOC medical “providers”, who some may be undergoing treatment for drug addiction, pedophilia, voyeurism, mental instability, and alcoholism. (See WA/DOC Medical Providers’ Department of Health Medical Licenses tab on this site for full disclosure of all these medical providers’ Applications for License to Practice Medicine, their Certificates are redacted for these disabilities or they have criminal convictions in court or medical malpractice judgments and related newspaper articles.)


  1. Despite this observation and request by medical specialists Dr. Ignatius Marsidi and Dr. Ghorai, and the fact his biliary duct system has enlarged from a normal diameter of 5 mm to 14 mm, evincing a terminal biliary duct disease known as Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, the WA/DOC deliberately stopped his pain relieving medication of only 40 mgs of Methadone once in the morning after he filed a Grievance requesting an increase. The reason for doing so, after nearly two years of receiving this medication, is to cause him to suffer from additional stress so he will expire sooner from this chronic pain.


  1. This is a standard tactic utilized by the WA/DOC to cause instability in conjunction with their delaying of medical treatments or completely denying the existence of any condition whatsoever that the inmate is complaining of. By not providing any type of diagnostic testing, they can claim they had no idea anything was wrong, thus absolving them from all liability. They now work in conjunction with the providers of diagnostic testing, urging them not to properly perform these tests and evaluations in order to suppress the actual results, if they want to keep their WA/DOC contracts.


  1. Illustratively, Mr. McDonald recently had an ultrasound March 30, 2011 by Schryver Medical, Inc. Washington. The report of the exam failed to state with specificity the exact size of his biliary ducts to determine if enlargement had occurred as his two prior reports had done. (viz. 9/22/09, 10/16/09). All his exams from all other companies had as well stated the grossly enlarged ducts sizes, indicating the existence of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. His ducts had grown from a normal size of 5 mm to over 14 mm.


  1. The WA/DOC has also persuaded Valley General Hospital to do the same thing if they want to maintain their contract. Again, all Mr. McDonald’s previous MRI and CT scans of his liver have had the exact measurements of his biliary duct system (viz 8/2/07, 10/18/07, 7/31/08, 10/26/09). Yet his 4/5/11 report does not.


  1. Thus with this omission there is no indication of any disease present.


  1. The reasons for this stem from the medical costs now associated with trying to maintain a terminal patient and many others like him, all with deteriorating medical conditions. The costs of which are exorbitantly high and which the WA/DOC can no longer afford to bear. They had not anticipated the financial downturn in the economy, which caused the prison growth industry to reverse itself and turn into the biggest financial drain on the state’s economy. A factor that could not have been foreseen when initially enacting the Three-Strikes law.


  1. Now it’s no longer cost-effective to “create” inmates to build prisons with, as an artificial stimulus for the economy. What’s been made, must now be destroyed if financial viability is to be maintained. (See tabs on this site: The Real Truth About Three Strikes and What This is Costing You for complete details.)


  1. Mr. McDonald’s case is not an isolated incident. The WA/DOC has embarked upon a course of action that deliberately denies hundreds of inmates the normal standard of community medical care for both serious and terminal medical conditions. This in turn creates collateral complications which they can easily blame the inmate for “causing” to detract from their legitimate medical complaint, forcing them to suffer in silence. Such was the case of Marcotte v. Monroe Correctional Complex, 394 FS. 2d 1289 (W.D. Wash. 2005), where Mr. Marcotte reported to medical that he was experiencing chest and left arm pains and numbness. Medical “disregarded his symptoms and relevant medical history, and threatened to send him to the hole if he continued to fake his symptoms”. He was forced to return to his cell where he woke up the following day paralyzed from a stroke. He sued Dr. David Kenney and won over three-hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) because Dr. Kenney failed to train his medical staff and set forth adequate policies to protect inmates’ health concerns.


  1. The Marcotte case also exposes how medical staff feel and treat inmates’ health concerns from the administrative level down. Starting with the then Medical Director John Kenney, who according to other staff members who really were medical professionals, testified that Dr. Kenney addressed inmates’ medical complaints as nonsense and felt only “systemic apathy and disdain towards inmates’” medical needs. See Marcotte, Supra.


  1. The same identical course of action is again repeating itself here at WSRU. Besides medical taking over 10 minutes to respond to inmate George Manussier who was suffering from a massive heart attack several months ago while out on the yard. On Monday “Furlough Day” July 12, 2010, inmate Ricco St. Callee went to medical to report chest pains. They told him it was only “gas” and to return to his cell or else he’d be infracted. No physician was on duty this day because it was “Furlough Day”.


  1. He continued to protest, and was ordered to return to his cell or go to the hole. One hour later, he was unconscious and brain dead from a stroke. Apparently it was not acid reflux as he had been told by the incompetent medical provider. Because of budgetary constraints things are only getting worse. Dozens of CRC approved operations have been cancelled and medications stopped for inmates who had been either approved to receive such or had been receiving them for years.


  1. Now all of a sudden they have been told they really didn’t need them in the first place.


  1. July 14, 2010 Superintendent Scott Frakes released a memo describing the problem as: “We have had a second acute medical event in a short interval at WSRU.” No doubt many more will be occurring during mandatory “Furlough Days”, when state physicians have been ordered to stay home, at inmates’ expense. Who cares if an inmate dies of medical neglect? The WA/DOC will make sure no one even knows.


  1. Systemic medical neglect by the WA/DOC is legion as shown in the Prison Legal News article entitled “Washington’s Island of Deviant Doctors”. This article profiles McNeil Island’s sordid history of hiring convicted rapists and drug addicts to provide medical treatment. The norm in the WA/DOC.


  1. This includes Bruce Bennett PA-C, who stole dozens of inmates’ narcotic medications and called them “liars, drug addicts and malingerers” to throw the blame off himself. He ended up dying in his truck on the side of I-5, after he injected himself with an inmate’s stolen medication which he overdosed on. The WA/DOC then tried to cover this up, refusing to turn over public documents of the incident which cost the taxpayers an additional $24,000 in legal fees to pay the cost for the litigation for trying to suppress this WA/DOC medical provider’s death and drug addiction.


  1. The debacle at McNeil Island is not an isolated incident. Many WA/DOC inmates suffer needlessly from systemic medical abuse at the hands of medical providers, some of whom may be convicted pedophiles, drug addicts, rapists, and incompetents. (See news articles, Plea Agreements, Judgments and Sentences, Department of Health Licenses redacted for Drug Addiction, Pedophilia, Mental Instability, Alcoholism and Medical Malpractice Judgments, at the WA/DOC Medical License Histories DOH Records tab on this site.)


  1. The WA/DOC has continued this risky practice of hiring convicted drug addicts and convicted pedophiles or those who maybe are being treated for same. These individuals are unemployable in any other segment of society due to their various violations of the public trust. Out of gratitude for finally receiving employment, they have pledged their allegiance to their employer, the WA/DOC and have agreed not to provide the normal standard of community medical care to their patients in order to save their employer, the WA/DOC, costs. All while knowing that their actions violate their Hippocratic Oath.


  1. Normal physicians would be aghast to see for themselves the substandard level of medical care that is provided. And further see how many recommendations made by medical specialists are not followed due to costs constraints and budgetary concerns.


  1. The real reasons that the Washington State Attorney General has fought so hard to stop inmates from accessing WA/DOC staff records through RCW 42.56, Washington’s Public Records Access Law, is not because of the actions of several recalcitrant individuals, but because if the public had any idea that dozens of WA/DOC staff members had long medical malpractice judgments for nearly killing their patients before starting at the prison, and extensive histories of felony convictions for drug abuse, pedophilia and related crimes, or maybe are being treated for same, it would support inmates’ claims of systemic medical abuse and a culture of corruption exists within the department.


  1. They would be able to prove in their suits for deliberate indifference under §1983, that it is more likely than not that they are telling the truth and the WA/DOC provider is lying or is incorrect in his assumptions and diagnoses.


  1. Especially when you consider that each provider has their answers redacted to questions like: “Can you treat your patients with the required degree of safety and skill as someone who is not suffering from what you are suffering from?” Obviously their unknown “disability” is severe enough for them to suppress it from their patients’ knowledge. Whatever it is. (See tab: DOH Medical Providers Histories)


  1. To stem this tide of abject medical abuse, Steve shopped his medical records around until he found an attorney who would be aggressive and who would know how to stop this abuse. When Mr. McDonald reported to the Superintendent at Walla Wall, Dr. Fleck, who was called Dr. Corn Flake by both inmates and staff alike, had tried to play with his penis, he was infracted for sexual harassment to shut him up. When he complained that the pain medication he’d been receiving for nearly two years was no longer effective, and requested an increase, it was stopped altogether in retaliation for his filing a Grievance attempting to gain an increase. When he complained that his ADHD medications had been wrongfully stopped along with his seizure medications, which he had been receiving one-hundred percent disability payments from the Social Security Administration and Department of Social and Health Services for lifetime awards, he was labeled as suffering form “Poly Substance Abuse” by WA/DOC’s infamous offender Dr. Steven Jewett.


  1. Who at the time had his license to prescribe narcotics suspended for five years and could not renew Mr. McDonalds then current usage of Adderall 30 mg BID and Lorazepam 2 mg TID during their interview May 7, 2004. Thus necessitating his “diagnoses” of Mr. McDonald as only a drug seeker because he could not prescribe any medications like he was receiving.


  1. The problem with this is that the WA/DOC Head Psychiatrist at WSRU, Steven Jewett, who pulled this diagnosis out of his ass, had himself recently pled guilty in US District Court to prescription fraud for sending his patients out to bust prescriptions for narcotics to replenish his supply. His license to prescribe the medications that Steve was receiving had been revoked by the Department of Health. To “rehabilitate himself” at Steve’s expense, he smutted him up with this erroneous diagnoses on May 7, 2004. (See tab on this site: Medical Records, Primary Encounter Report, May 7, 2004. See tab on this site: DOH Medical Licensing History.)


  1. According to official WA/DOC records, Mr. McDonald was shipped to Monroe Correctional Complex from Shelton Correctional Center to receive better medical care and treatments due to its proximity to the leading hospitals. Yet this has not happened. In fact, his Interferon treatment was not started until last year, which was too late and his liver too far gone. Despite his being approved in 2000. Port Orchard lawyer Anthony C. Otto, agreed to represent Steve and get him better medical care. Mr. Ottos’s May 2010 letter to Superintendent Scott Frakes, with numerous exhibits, sets forth the medical issues he is forced to endure and contains supporting exhibits. Both his medical providers, Dr. Beiter and PA-C Brukhis, also received copies. Yet neither responded to this fact-specific request. In fact, the only response was a several sentence reply claiming nothing was wrong with Mr. McDonald. (See May 11, 2010 letter with exhibits and WA/DOC Reply, under the tab on this site: Medical Records.)


  1. June 2010 another letter was written pointing out that the WA/DOC had failed to address any of the concerns expressed in the initial letter, and Steve’s biliary duct system was enlarging which is a terminal condition in and of itself, not necessarily related to his advanced end-stage liver diseases. Counsel also requested to know why his pain alleviating medications had not been restarted to treat his End Stage Liver Disease (ESLD).


  1. Mr. Otto also wanted to know why Steve had been offered the toxic drug Tegretol by Mark Beiter, D.O., which is strictly prohibited by the manufacturer from being prescribed to anyone with Stage-4 Hepatitis C. Again the WA/DOC failed to take any corrective actions or even respond. (See tab on this site: Medical Records June 2010 Letter)


  1. July 21, 2010 Mr. McDonald was “examined” by Steven Hammond, M.D., the WA/DOC Medical Director. Dr. Hammond opined Steve was “fine”. This was apparently because he “had such a nice suntan.” When asked why his biliary ducts had gone from a normal size of 5 mm to 14 mm, Dr. Hammond responded, “It doesn’t matter. It’s non-specific.”[if !supportFootnotes]-->[1][endif]-->


  1. Dr. Hammond continued to claim that Mr. McDonald’s concerns about his chronically enlarged biliary duct system and pain generated from the stretching these ducts was because he was “animated with subdued anger, hostility and indignation over his incarceration.” Because of his “diagnoses,” these abnormalities and pain generated therefrom “would not be pursued at this time.”


  1. He completely ignored Mr. McDonald’s CT and PT scans (viz. Oct. 2009, Jan 2010, and April 2010), each of which showed a growing pre-cancerous left lung neoplasm. He claimed that this condition was “normal”.


  1. What’s taking place here has recently been detailed by Eldon Vail, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections, during numerous television interviews. This information can easily be obtained and used as evidence against him and those involved in this conspiracy to deny thousands of inmates their constitutionally mandated medical care and treatments established by Estelle v. Gamble, 429 US 97, 104, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1976) (deliberate indifference to serious medical needs constitutes unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain); Langley v. Coughlin, 888 F. 2d 252, 254 (2nd. Cir. 1989) (prison officials must provide reasonable medical care which would be available to the prisoner if not incarcerated); Rosado v. Alamedia, 349 F. Supp. 2d 1340, 1348, (S.D. Cal. 2004) (fact that medical care may be expensive does not excuse prison officials from providing it); and McElligott v. Foley, 182 F. 3d 1248, 1256-57 (11th. Cir. 1999) (failure to treat severe or chronic pain states a cause of action against prison medical personnel).


  1. On December 29, 2010 on Channel 12 KBTC at 2 a.m. Secretary Vail informed the public that in order to save costs he had personally “returned 25 million dollars of inmate medical care funds” to the general revenue fund. This means that medical care and treatments had been stopped for truly needy inmates. Hundreds of inmates’ medications had been stopped and surgeries cancelled because they were told that they “really didn’t need them in the first place.” This was after the nearly insurmountable odds of getting them approved in the first place.


  1. Secretary Vail has ordered his cadre of disabled medical personnel not to issue medications or renew medications or special medical diets, or request surgeries, because the WA/DOC does not have the funds to do so.


  1. Because he gave it back to the legislature.


  1. His actions have already shown “benefits” because two inmates have died. His dangerous policies resulted in the deaths or rather murders, of George Manussier and Rocco St. Calli. His actions have affected the entire inmate population, specifically Mr. McDonald, as shown in this Review of Medical Status by all his medical “providers” failure to follow specific requests made by the specialists that the WA/DOC sent him to for evaluations for his Advanced ESLD and lung neoplasm.


  1. Medical Director Hammond continued to prove this result.


  1. When Mr. McDonald asked direct questions, like why weren’t all his prior ultrasound, CT scan and MRI reports of his biliary duct system being sent to his WA/DOC Specialist, Dr. Sujoy K. Ghoari, M.D., as he had requested in his January 28, 2010 Report to determine if this was the condition that was causing him all his chronic excruciating liver pain, Dr. Hammond replied, “There is no reason, it’s just a recommendation. We are not required to follow any recommendation. We are your medical providers.”


  1. Mr. McDonald protested, pointing that even his alkaline phosphatase “cholestatic” blood tests had been abnormal, when his Gastroentologist Dr. Ignatius Marsidi evaluated him February of 2009 according to his report which recommended “repeat ultrasounds” every six months.


  1. The WA/DOC Medical Director replied that, “That doesn’t matter either. You’ve had plenty of treatments, and pain is a necessary part of your terminal illness. So get used to it. You’re not getting any more treatments or pain medicines!” (See Medical Records Section)


  1. On August 16, 2010 Christine Gregoire was on TV lamenting the cost of keeping aging inmates with medical issues in the WA/DOC, claiming it had risen to seventy-four thousand dollars ($74,000) a year. To curtail these costs, the WA/DOC has retained medical services providers who deny the existence of any diseases in these select aging inmate cases by not properly performing their diagnostic testing the way they had in the past. This rather obvious fact clearly shows their motivation as they do not want to know the accurate results which would require the expenditure of further funds if abnormalities are discovered.


  1. Illustratively, Mr. McDonald had a CT scan with contrast on January 26, 2010 at Valley General Hospital that categorically detected that his left lung nodular had “become more prominent, with a focal area of infiltrate or nodular change.” This abnormality was initially detected by CT scan on October 26, 2009. His April 2010 PT scan showed this neoplasm had grown further, and should be continually monitored by “serial CT scans every six (6) months.”


  1. WA/DOC medical found that Mr. McDonald’s lung had magically healed itself only several months after these highly sophisticated CT scans and PT scans were performed numerous times; by a simple chest x-ray July 23, 2010 from Schryver Medical, Inc. where now they found his lungs were: “NORMAL / NO ABNORMALITIES.” (See medical records.)


  1. Just September of 2012, Mr. McDonald suffered multiple seizures due to the DOC stopping his expensive seizure medications and their failing to provide proper diagnostic testing. During the postictal phase, he unknowingly hit a nurse and was infracted for “staff assault” and must complete a year-and-a-half IMU program. All because the DOC failed to properly treat his condition with medications.  


  1. In conclusion, it would seem that the nearly 300 or so initially struck out Three-Strikes inmates who were told that it was prohibited by law that they could be offered a plea to a lesser degree of offense, will be very costly to maintain in the future as they grow older and health problems crop up. The California prison system is an excellent example of this with its $3 billion prison medical deficit presently being administered by federal regulators through the federal court system.


  1. With 1 in 7 people living in poverty, or 43 million people, which will escalate to twice that amount in 4 years, according to the Brookings Institute’s commentator on KCTS Channel 9 TV on September 16, 2010 and “no recovery in sight until possibly the end of the decade,” now it’s time for a change. It’s time to hold the politicians accountable for their actions of bankrupting the economy and placing you to be in the situation you’re in.


  1. The citizens of the state are being made to suffer too as they are forced to watch vital public assistance programs and support services disappear in order to facilitate costly medical services and escalating costs of incarceration and litigation for aging inmates who demand costly medical services through the court system. Exactly like what is taking place in the California prison system.


  1. In the future, the newest growth industry might very well become civil litigation against WA/DOC by attorneys. Attorneys who have found that their other sources of revenue have all dried up due to economic conditions. Then the WA/DOC’s usage of these disabled buffoons will be less attractive when viewed with the dire results of the treatments they provided the inmates.  


  1. The State of Washington will then become the new cash cow. [if !supportFootnotes]-->[2][endif]-->


  1. And rightly so!


  1. But for now Washington State’s inmate population will continue to suffer beyond imagination as the others continue to maintain their false sense of legitimacy before the public. A façade that has been cracked to shed light on their dirty little secret.




[if !supportFootnotes]-->[1][endif]--> In order to pursue civil actions against these disabled and incompetent WA/DOC medical personnel, an inmate must first exhaust administrative remedies. This means filing grievances pointing out what deficiencies they feel exist in the medical care they are receiving. Mr. McDonald has completed or nearly completed this process: 1. Not being informed of the devastating consequences of Interferon treatment ruining his ability to have an erection, GRIEVANCE No. 10-01431; 2. Not providing proper medications to prohibit collateral consequences of Interferon treatment, GRIEVANCE No. 09-23504; 3. Not providing proper medications to alleviate the complications of Interferon treatment, GRIEVANCE No. 09-20772; 4. Stopping pain alleviating medications prescribed for three years after making the admissions they are aware petitioner does “have serious liver disease and is likely to experience considerable pain” in grievance No. 05-13021; GREIVANCE No. 09-19972; 5. Stopping pain alleviating medications of 40 mg methadone and oxydondone received for over three years for advanced End-Stage Liver Disease, Stage 4 necrosis and portal inflammation and biliary duct dilation, all in retaliation for filing a grievance requesting an increase, GRIEVANCE No. 11-00505; 6. Refusing to follow medical specialists’ recommendations and provide serial CT scans every six months of Mr. McDonald’s left lung to ensure that his lung nodule does not turn cancerous, GRIEVANCE No. 10-25576; 7. Refusing to follow medical specialists’ request that all Mr. McDonald’s ultrasounds, MRI’s and CT scans of his liver be sent to them for evaluation if his enlarged biliary duct system from a normal size of 5mm to over 14 mm was the cause of his severe acute abdominal pain and resulted from Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, GRIEVANCE No 11-05339; 8. Failure to properly administer the CT scan of Mr. McDonald’s lung nodule using contrast dye because of its costs, GRIEVANCE No. 11-07188; 9. Misstating the Accurate Facts and Using False Facts to deny Mr. McDonald pain medications by the CRC, GRIEVANCE No. 11-10742; 10. Refusal to do a thing to correct or ameliorate Mr. McDonald’s Degenerative Disc Disease of L3-4 and Compression Fracture in his spine, provide muscle relaxers, back brace, heat rub, trigger point injections, pain medications, or allow him to see an osteopath, all due to costs, GRIEVANCE No. 11-11270.

[if !supportFootnotes]-->[2][endif]--> See the tab on this site: What This Is Costing You for a financial analysis of what your future will look like because of these harmful policies. Or just look around your neighborhood or downtown to see the decay.