Snohomish County jail adds part-time doctor

EVERETT — At the Snohomish County Jail, the doctor is in.

Unlike the inmates, he can come and go.

Dr. Stuart Andrews started working part time at the jail on Wednesday.

The hiring of a doctor is one of several improvements in medical care new Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary hopes to see in the jail where eight inmates have died since 2010. At least two of the deaths have resulted in pending legal claims.

Shortly after being appointed sheriff in July, Trenary asked the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office to examine medical operations at the 1,200-bed jail in Everett. That county has been wrestling with similar jail challenges.

Until this week, the jail has been covered by an often-understaffed team of registered and licensed practical nurses, with a doctor available via telephone if needed.

Andrews will work 24 hours a week under a contract, but Trenary eventually hopes to make it a full-time position, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. The sheriff also wants to add more nurses, but is waiting to see what Andrews recommends.

Andrews has worked in jails in Whatcom and King counties as well as the state prison in Monroe.

At the Everett jail, he’ll provide on-site consultation on complex medical cases, examine the most severely ill patients, review charts, evaluate inmates with chronic conditions, review medical policies and clinical protocols and issue orders for medication and treatment.

“It’s a challenging field and interesting work,” Andrews said in a prepared statement.

He has been a physician since 1980.

A review of operations at the county jail was completed in mid-August by a team from the National Institute of Corrections at the request of the sheriff’s office. The medical unit is scheduled to be reviewed by another team from the national institute later this month.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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