Inmate claims Utah prisons mismanaged pandemic care
DRAPER, Utah – A career criminal whose crimes include a conviction for child abduction has filed a federal lawsuit against the Utah Department of Corrections, claiming he has the right to decent medical care.
FOX 13 INQUIRY: Satanist author in southern Utah inspires double murder in London
Among Damon Crist’s allegations are that medical staff mismanaged the COVID-19 pandemic by failing to take basic precautions such as changing gloves and isolating symptomatic inmates.
FOX 13 previously reported that 18 inmates from two Utah prisons died from COVID.
Crist’s lawsuit recently received a boost from the Professional and Professional Licensing Division, which oversees healthcare providers. The ruling says the prison’s senior medical staff violated standards of care.
Crist’s lawyers are now seeking to add prison health care man Tony Washington to the trial.
“My first reaction is just that I’m glad people are starting to notice what’s going on inside the prison system,” said Brandy Gillespie.
FOX 13 INQUIRY: How Utah Employee Became FBI Informant Against Beef Exporter
Gillespie has been critical of Washington for a year, since her 48-year-old husband Jerry died after contracting COVID-19 at Utah State Prison in Draper.
“I think there must be very harsh consequences for Mr. Washington and the people who work under him and who do not provide the proper care,” Gillespie added.
Gillespie sent the Department of Corrections a notice of claim, a step towards a lawsuit.
“The notice of claim lists Mr. Washington as one of many individuals who we believe may or may not have acted with standard of care,” said Gillespie’s attorney, Wayman Stodart. “We have heard similar reports of not changing gloves. We have heard similar reports of test swabs out of their original packaging. “
FOX 13 INQUIRY: Video shows Vivint Smart Home seller making false claims
As of Nov. 15, the Utah Department of Corrections reported that about 3,100 inmates had contracted the virus during the pandemic, more than half of the state’s prison population.
FOX 13 has contacted the Department of Corrections for comment, but officials have yet to respond.