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Williams v. Funk

March 27, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge


Before the court are Defendant, Dr. George Kurian's summary judgment motion, d/e 64, and the plaintiff's response, d/e 68.


The plaintiff filed his first amended complaint on 6/30/03. He alleges that he was confined at the Stateville Correctional Center from October 26, 1997 through January 28, 2002. He has been confined at Pontiac Correctional Center since January 28, 2002. He alleges in Count I that he received inadequate medical care from Dr. George Kurian. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that between March 1, 200 and December 5, 2000, he was seen by Dr. Kurian on at least three occasions for the following symptoms: weight loss, excessive sweating, sleeplessness, dizzy spells, tremors, blurred vision, frequent urination, diarrhea, swelling of the thyroid gland, fever, extreme irritability, memory loss, and inability to concentrate. The plaintiff claims that Dr. Kurian refused to conduct a physical examination and refused to "lay hands on him". The plaintiff claims that Dr. Kurian's treatment of the plaintiff was limited to the distribution of Tylenol and antibiotics. The plaintiff further claims that on December 5, 2000, he was seen by another doctor who diagnosed Grave's disease (hyperthyroidism).

Undisputed Material Facts

The following facts are taken from the deposition transcript of the plaintiff, attached as Exhibit A, d/e 64. Mr. Williams testified to the following undisputed facts:

1. He agrees that he had been diagnosed with a mental illness prior to March 2000. Exhibit A, pg. 23.

2. He believes he was first diagnosed at age seven with hyperactivity, bipolar, depression, and cognitive disorder associated with aggression. Ex. A, pg. 23.

3. When he was first seen by Dr. Kurian in March 2000, he was at Stateville Correctional Center and he believed he exhibited all the signs associated with Grave's disease. Exhibit A, pg. 39-40.

4. During the March 2000 exam, the medical technician took Williams' blood pressure, took his temperature, and then Williams recited the symptomatology to Dr. Kurian. Exhibit A, pg. 41.

5. Williams agreed that the medical technician plays the same role as an RN at a doctor's office, that the medical technician will take history, temperature, and things of those nature and then the doctor looked at that history and the symptomatology and asked additional questions. Ex. A, pg. 45.

6. He agreed that Dr. Kurian asked him what problems he was having in March 2000. Exhibit A, pg. 45.

7. He admitted that he told Dr. Kurian that he was having discomfort in his sinus area. Exhibit A, pg. 45-46.

8. He admitted that he had no medical training. Exhibit A, pg. 46.

9. He admitted that he did not know what the standard of care was for any particular healthcare practitioner and he had absolutely no idea what physicians are trained to do under a given set of circumstances. Exhibit A, pg. 46-47.

10. He believed the second time he saw Dr. Kurian was in August 2000. Exhibit A, pg.60-61.

11. He claimed that during the examination in August 2000 by Dr. Kurian he had the following symptoms: bug eyes, excessive sweating, excessive weight loss, sleeplessness, headaches, sinus problems, extreme diarrhea, and shakes. Exhibit A, pg.61.

12. During his second visit with Dr. Kurian in August 2000 he claims he had the same complaints, and Dr. Kurian again simply diagnosed the flu. Exhibit A, pg. 68.

13. Williams claims that Dr. Kurian did not touch him during the second examination in August 2000, but he thinks that he may have ordered some tests. Exhibit A, pg. 69-70.

14. He admitted that Dr. Smith never told him that the Grave's disease should have been diagnosed earlier. Exhibit A, pg. 90.

15. He agreed that Dr. Smith never told him that there was any permanent damage caused by the Grave's disease at that point. Exhibit A, pg. 90.

16. He also claims that after he transferred to Pontiac (on January 28, 2002) that several months after the transfer he was seen by Dr. Kurian and diagnosed with flu and prescribed Amoxicillin and Tylenol without a physical examination. Exhibit A, pg.94-95.

17. Other than what he already explained, he had no other criticisms of Dr. Kurian. Exhibit A, pg. 101-102.

The following facts are taken from the deposition transcript of Dr. Kurian, attached as Exhibit B, d/e 64. Dr. Kurian testified to the following undisputed facts:

18. Dr. Kurian is licensed to practice medicine in the State of Illinois. Exhibit B, pg. 6.

19. He began performing medical services at various facilities operated by the Illinois Department of Corrections in 1987. Exhibit B, pg. 8.

20. He worked full time at Stateville Correctional Facility from 1987 through 2001. Exhibit B, pg. 9.

21. At the time of his deposition, he was employed by Wexford Health Services. Exhibit B, pg. 9.

22. Wexford has a contract with the Department of Corrections to provide physicians who treat inmates of the Department of Corrections. Exhibit B, pg. 9.

23. The Department of Corrections standard procedure is that when an inmate has a medical complaint the inmate will tell the correctional medical technician or nurse and the correctional medical technician or nurse will record those complaints in a progress note and determine whether the patient should be scheduled for an examination by a physician during "sick call". Exhibit B, pg. 13.

24. Correctional medical technicians (CMT's) are typically paramedics, LPN's, or doctors from some other country. Exhibit B, pg. 14.

25. After a patient is referred to one of the physicians, the physician will talk with the inmate, determine the inmate's complaint, examine the inmate, make an assessment, and then treat the patient. Exhibit B, pg. 15.

26. Correctional medical technicians are allowed to prescribe over the counter medications to prisoners. Exhibit B, pg. 15-16.

27. He saw the plaintiff twice at Stateville Correctional Facility (once for a physical exam and once for a sick call exam) and he saw the plaintiff twice at Pontiac Correctional Facility. Exhibit B, pg. 17.

28. Exhibit F, d/e 64, is a medical record which reflects Dr. Kurian's physical examination of the plaintiff on March 27, 2000. Exhibit B, pg. 23.

29. During Kurian's examination of the plaintiff on March 27, 2000, the plaintiff did not complain of any inability to sleep, severe weight loss, that he was suffering from"bug eyes", or that he had excessive sweating. Exhibit B, pg. 23-24.

30. If the plaintiff complained of any of those ailments during the March 27, 2000 examination, it would have been documented in the medical record. Exhibit B, pg. 24.

31. In the physical examination form, dated March 27, 2000 and marked as Exhibit F, page 2, d/e 64, Dr. Kurian indicated that during his examination, the plaintiff had sinus tenderness, that his pupils reacted to light, and that during the examination he looked at the plaintiff's nose, ears, and sinuses. Exhibit B, pg. 25-26.

32. Dr. Kurian's examination on March 27, 2000 revealed that the plaintiff had normal breathing and that the heart rate was regular and in rhythm. He further noted that the abdomen was soft with no tenderness and that the plaintiff had an erythematous rash around the genital area. It was further noted that there was a scar on the plaintiff's left forearm, right knee, and on his spine. During the musculoskeletal examination it was noted that there was no spinous tenderness. It was further noted there was a tattoo on the plaintiff's arm and that the neurological examination was normal. His assessment was allergy, that the tubercular test revealed ...

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