The daughter of a woman who died from the flu in January today filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Corrections, claiming the prison failed to provide adequate healthcare to women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.
WW first reported the flu outbreak in March. The virus began to spread in the women's prison in January and infected more than 40 women.
Prison officials bought 519 vaccines for a population of 1,645 inmates at Coffee Creek. The Centers for Disease Control advise every healthy person older than 6 months receive the flu shot every year.
The prison also failed for at least two consecutive years to follow its own policies to inform every prisoner through written notices that she could receive a flu shot.
After WW's reporting, DOC took steps to better educate inmates about flu vaccines and ensure the prisons were following the department's policies. A spokeswoman for DOC says the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.
Ferri died on Jan. 15 from an influenza infection complicated by pneumonia and a staph infection that caused her organs to fail. Her medical records say she had been coughing up blood for three days before prison officials finally sent her to the hospital by ambulance.
Her daughter, Mistina Ferri, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday in Washington County Circuit Court, claiming the prison staff was negligent and their treatment caused her mother's death. The suit seeks $7.5 million.
"Tina Ferri would be alive today if the prison did its job," says Michael Fuller, one of the lawyers representing the Ferri family in the suit.
Update: This story has been updated with a comment from the Oregon Department of Corrections.