Tina Ferri died of the flu in the Coffee Creek Women's Prison in Wilsonville, Oregon in January 2017.
Her daughter, Mistina Ferri, is suing the Oregon Department of Corrections for $7.5 million for her loss of life, a story which was first reported by The Oregonian.
Ferri, 53, reportedly began coughing up blood and was taken to the Legacy Medical Center in Tualatin where her legs were shackled and she was surrounded by armed guards. Within hours, Ferri had died from organ failure caused by influenza with staph superinfection, according to the suit.
According to the suit, had Ferri received a flu shot, there is a chance she may still be alive.
"Up until 45 minutes before she died, they still had her shackled to the bed. She was dying -- literally dying and they had my mom shackled to the bed," said Mistine Ferri, Tina's daughter.
Ferri was able to call her husband and notify him she was experiencing flu like symptoms, the lawsuit states. She was quarantined to her cell block, like other inmates experiencing flu-like symptoms, because the infirmary was full of sick patients.
The flu spread through the Coffee Creek Women's Prison with only about 300 of the 1,645 inmates having received a flu shot. The prison, however, had only purchased 519 shots.
Ferri's husband called the prison to check on Ferri, "It was less than 12 hours later we got the phone call that they didn't know how much time she had left," said Mistina.
The suit asserts that the prison willingly purchased less than the amount of flu shot necessary to immunize the inmates. It goes on to say that a public health physician will testify on Ferri's behalf that a flu shot rate of 70 percent of a population or higher is required to effectively limit the flu. A different healthcare professional will say that in confined populations that flu shot rate should exceed 70 percent.
Michael Fuller, the Ferri family attorney said, "They don't have any written policies to provide flu shots and the law requires them to have written policies to provide flu shots, so they violated the law in that way."
A reporter from the Federal Bureau of Prisons states, according to the suit, that a prison must always tell each inmate about the availability of flu shots and when they can receive them whether that be through a handbook, flier, electronic message or other announcement methods. But the suit states that inmates from the prison will testify that they were not told about the flu shots.
"Every inmate should be notified that flu shots are available. and every inmate should be provided a flu shot unless there's a reason they shouldn't have one," said Fuller, "So it should be an opt-out policy versus an opt-in policy they had when my client passed away."
It is not clear whether Tina requested a flu shot or not or whether she was unaware of their existence in the prison facility.
"They're being treated worse than animals in the humane society right now. Animals in the humane society get all of their shots, they get fed, everything like that -- prison people don't get everything like that," said Mistina. "She was 53-years-old, there was no reason [for her death]."
Ferri was serving time for with DUII (Drugs), Possession of Methamphetamine, Reckless Driving and Assault 4, however the Oregonian reported that the assault charge had been dropped after Ferri's death.