Monroe Correctional Complex (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Monroe Correctional Complex (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Commission suspends license of ex-doctor at Monroe prison

Dr. Julia Barnett was fired in April 2019 by the state Department of Corrections.

Associated Press

MONROE — The Washington state Medical Commission has indefinitely suspended the license of a former head doctor at a prison in Monroe, citing evidence of inadequate care that harmed incarcerated people.

Dr. Julia Barnett was fired in April 2019 by the state Department of Corrections after the agency’s internal probe found six prison inmates — including three who died — had suffered because of inadequate care she provided or supervised.

The medical commission’s long-running investigation basically supported the DOC’s earlier findings regarding Barnett, who had been hired despite lacking some qualifications for the prison medical director position, The Seattle Times reported.

Barnett committed unprofessional conduct, including “incompetence, negligence, or malpractice which results in injury to a patient or creates an unreasonable risk that a patient may be harmed…” according to a statement of charges signed by the medical commission’s executive director, Melanie de Leon.

Among the incidents cited was the case of a person with a degenerative lung condition who died in August 2018 gasping for air, with inadequate treatment and no attempt to bring in a specialist or seek advanced care at a hospital.

“The delay in care caused (him) to suffer unnecessarily,” the commission investigation found in that case.

Another inmate died in August 2018 from an infected surgical wound after “substandard care,” including failure to diagnose and treat problems, according to the investigation.

In its Nov. 16 order, the commission found “an immediate danger to the public health and safety” and ordered Barnett to surrender her license to practice as a physician and surgeon in Washington.

Barnett can request a hearing to dispute that decision, said Stephanie Mason, a commission spokesperson.

An attorney for Barnett, D. Jeffrey Burnham, declined to comment on Thursday.

Barnett has appealed her firing and defended her medical care in a response to the commission last year, describing the Monroe prison infirmary as short-staffed and “a problematic place to care for sick people.” She also said she had raised concerns about conditions including ventilation problems and inadequate heating and air conditioning.

She was being paid $260,000 a year at the time of her firing. Her appeal is still pending before the state Personnel Resources Board.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Amethyst Skeels and Alexander Walsh pick out cannabis products at Kushman's Everett Cannabis Dispensary on Evergreen Way on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Cannabis sales surge, proving pot is pandemic-proof

There are more customers, and some regulars are stocking up — just in case there’s a shortage.

Leslie Bringedahl grabs a bag containing books she and her husband Mark ordered after Circulation Manager Carol  puts them down on a wall during curbside pickup at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Everett, Wa.(Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Everett council looks to fund fireworks, Jetty Island ferry

The Carl Gipson Senior Center and boosting library funding are also “quality of life” priorities.

Santa Claus is coming to town, despite the coronavirus

He’ll follow social distancing. In one setting, children are invited to “call out” their wishes.

Driver arrested after allegedly hitting woman in crosswalk

The suspect was driving an SUV on Highway 99 in Lynnwood and is under investigation for DUI.

COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise

A new exposure notification app is here, and vaccines are on the way, but the virus continues to surge.

This series of screenshots taken from an iPhone with COVID-19 exposure notifications turned on for Washington state shows some of the information presented to iPhone users who are considering opting in to a new statewide coronavirus exposure notification program that was launched Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Washington state that uses smartphone technology in the ongoing effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People with Apple iPhones can now enable the 'exposure notifications' feature that is already in their phone's settings, and Android devices can download the app, called Washington Exposure Notifications. Use of the service is voluntary and users can opt out at any time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington launches statewide COVID-19 notification app

Modeling predicted significant decreases in infections and deaths if at least 15% of people use the app.

Public Health Essentials! (Snohomish Health District)
Five things to know about COVID vaccine planning

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Controlled explosion rattles Cathcart and much of the county

Deputies were investigating a 19-year-old who had an “enormous amount of fireworks” near Silver Lake.

Police: Suspect in fatal hit-and-run may have used marijuana

The Lynnwood man allegedly didn’t stop to check on a pedestrian whom he hit with a pickup truck.

Most Read