The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Donnie E. Burns ("Burns") brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983
("Section 1983") pro se complaint for damages against the Head
Jailor of the LaSalle County Jail ("the Jail"), Mark Turner
("Turner"), a guard at the Jail, and Dr. Gonzalos ("Gonzalos"),
a medical doctor employed by the Jail. Burns seeks leave to
file his complaint in forma pauperis and asks appointment of
On January 6, 1982 officers from LaSalle County took custody of
Burns and brought him to the Jail. Before his arrest Burns was
receiving ongoing out-patient treatment for "angina pectoris"
and anxiety neurosis" from the Danville, Illinois Veterans'
Administration ("VA") Hospital. Burns carried medication
prescribed for those conditions. Turner, however, refused Burns
permission to have in his possession either the librium or the
valium prescribed for his "anxiety neurosis." Next day Burns
unsuccessfully appealed Turner's decision to the Head Jailor.
At Burns's request a doctor visited him at the Jail on January
8. That doctor allowed Burns to keep prescriptions for two of
the medicines prescribed for his heart condition, but rescinded
prescriptions for the librium, valium and nitroglycerin
tablets. He told Burns the nitroglycerin duplicated another of
the heart medications Burns was receiving. He also said Burns
would be better off without the other two drugs because they
were habit-forming narcotics.
Unhappy with the doctor's decision, Burns refused to take any
medication for the next five days. He then ended that
"medication strike" on the advice of his attorney. Burns
(1) that defendants were at times late in delivering his
medicine to him; and
(2) of the location of his cell, situated in the back of the
cell block away from the jailors' office and the medical room.
Burns asserts if he had experienced a seizure, the jailors
would not have been able to respond quickly.
As a result of his incarceration, Burns missed his regular
90-day examination scheduled for March 25, 1982 at the VA
Hospital. Concerned, Burns told his attorney about his desire
to see a heart specialist. At the suggestion of a legal
services organization contacted by Burns's wife, the attorney
filed a June 3, 1982 motion requesting Burns be given
permission to do so. That motion was denied.
On June 12, 1982 Gonzalos examined Burns in his office and gave
him an EKG. Next week Burns was transferred from the Jail to
the Illinois Department of Corrections. Burns did not receive
the results of his examination by Gonzalos until almost a year
Burns claims defendants deprived him of adequate medical care
in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.*fn2
To state a claim for the deprivation of medical care, a
prisoner must allege "deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct.
285, 291, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976).*fn3 In applying that test
the court considers such factors as the severity of the medical
problem, the potential for harm if medical care is denied or
delayed and whether any such harm actually resulted from the
lack of medical attention. See Thomas v. Pate, 493 F.2d 151,
158 (7th Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 877, 96 S.Ct.
149, 46 L.Ed.2d 110 (1975). Judged by those standards, Burns's
complaints about his medical care do not raise a claim of
constitutional dimension cognizable under Section 1983.
Burns first challenges defendants' decision to take him off
certain medications, because he "suffered great medical anguish
and severe physical damages as a result of not being given the
proper medication." But the propriety of a certain course of
medical treatment is not a proper subject for review in a civil
rights action. Disagreements between an inmate and his prison
physician as to the quality of medical care do not constitute
the deliberate indifference to serious medical needs required
to turn a claim of medical malpractice into a constitutional
tort. Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890-91 (1st Cir.
1980); Smart v. Villar, 547 F.2d 112, 114 (10th Cir. 1976).
Exercising his professional ...