ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia will pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a physician who drew attention to unsanitary conditions at Augusta State Medical Prison.
Dr. Timothy Young said in the suit that he faced retaliation for being a whistleblower. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the state will pay $300,000 on behalf of defendants Georgia Correctional HealthCare, which provides medical care at the prison; its statewide medical director, Dr. Billy Nichols; and the medical prison's warden, Ted Philbin.
As director of the outpatient program, Young repeatedly alerted state officials about poor conditions. He said trash piled up outside an operating room, and leaky ceilings caused black mold. He also said doctors and nurses during surgery had to deal with insects attracted by the debris.
Young also was alarmed at security not being provided for medical staff when treating inmates who could pose a threat, and at delays in getting inmates' essential care.
Young leaked information to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After the newspaper reported on conditions in 2017, Young said the warden refused to take his calls, and he was told by medical officials not to put complaints in writing. Young also said inmate care suffered. Young resigned in January 2018, after a 16-year career at the prison.
Young is now clinical director of health services at a federal prison in South Carolina. He said money was not the point of his Georgia lawsuit. He said his overriding goal was to trigger a state investigation of Georgia Correctional HealthCare and the Department of Corrections and hold them accountable.
"Both were responsible for the inmates' deaths and suffering," he said.
He said that in the settlement, the defendants denied responsibility for wrongdoing.
The Georgia Attorney General's Office represented defendants in the case and declined to comment on the settlement, the newspaper reported.
Georgia Correctional HealthCare is a branch of Augusta University. Christen Engle, the university's vice president of communications and marketing, declined to comment.