ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle a lawsuit by a former inmate who says he suffered paralysis in a state prison, a newspaper said.
Plaintiff Nicholas Tucker, 37, said he still has partial paralysis from a spinal cord infection he contracted at Spring Creek Correctional Center in 2015, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
Officials at the maximum-security prison in Seward disregarded the seriousness of his illness for days despite repeated pleas for help, Tucker said.
Tucker was eventually flown to Anchorage for emergency surgery.
“Most people, myself included, end up in jail because we made mistakes,” Tucker wrote in an email. “But once placed in jail, we are at the mercy of our caretakers.”
Tucker sued the Alaska Department of Corrections in 2017 following his 2016 release from prison.
The case had been scheduled for trial in August.
The agreement will also pay $200,000 in Medicaid liens for Tucker, a former commercial fisherman from Ketchikan who was convicted of fraudulent use of an access device.
Federal privacy laws prevent the corrections department from “fully explaining the events that transpired,” spokeswoman Sarah Gallagher wrote in an email.
“Prompt and proper medical attention was given in this matter by trained professional medical staff,” she said.
Incarceration should not mean having a medical emergency disregarded, Tucker said.
“Inmates are human beings who deserve adequate medical care,” he said.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com