Firefighter Doug Waller
Photo credit: South King Fire and Rescue
Six years after dying of HIV contracted while on the job, the death of a South King Fire and Rescue firefighter is being recognized as a line of duty death by the State of Washington.
Firefighter Doug Waller wasn't wearing gloves while treating a patient with AIDs who was bleeding profusely, according to KING-TV.
His wife, Sharon said that he made a big deal about it when the incident occurred, but that an initial test for the virus came back negative.
After retiring from the job in 2001, he was diagnosed with the virus before dying in 2006.
Waller's exposure was documented when it occurred, but sat in a file and wasn't discovered until years later.
Now, his death has been accepted as a presumptive illness related to his time on the job.
The recognition allows for his name to be memorialized on the state's fire and rescue memorial pike pole and for his family to receive benefits.
"Should something like this happen to any of us, we feel better that our families will be taken care of," Battalion Chief Chuck Kahler told the news station.
The revelation behind Waller's death has also led to changes in the department, according to Kahler.
"Everyone gloves up now, gowns up, when there's a lot of bodily fluids," he told KCPQ-TV. "A lot of that just wasn't common practice back then."