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Rodgers v. Walker

June 26, 2006


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


This cause is before the court for consideration of the defendants' motions for summary judgment. [d/e 55, 58]


The plaintiff filed his lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against three defendants including Illinois Department of Corrections Director Roger Walker, Illinois Department of Corrections Medical Director Dr. Willard Elyan, and Pontiac Correctional Center Medical Director Dr. Faisal Ahmed. The plaintiff says the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights when they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition.

The following facts are taken from the defendants motions for summary judgments and the plaintiff's response:

The plaintiff has a history of significant congenital heart disease. In 2000, the plaintiff received an artificial heart valve. The plaintiff has provided a letter for Pediatric Cardiologist David Thoele dated June of 2002 which was sent to doctors at Pontiac Correctional Center. Dr. Thoele states:

I feel that it is very important from a medical viewpoint that he have a minimum of a once-a-year follow-up with either an Adult Congenital Clinic or a Pediatric Cardiologist. The type of surgery he had is not a permanent solution, and it is clear that all patients who have this type of repair need to be followed at least on a yearly basis, if not on an every-six-month basis, since such values eventually always calcify, and sometimes become insufficient. They can last anywhere from one to about 20 years, and if it is functioning well, he should have a reasonably good prognosis. It is, however, extremely important that he have follow-up medical care on a yearly basis. (Pl. Ex. P. 6) The plaintiff was seen by Cardiac Specialist, Dr. Carlos Ruiz, in June of 2003 while he was incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center. Dr. Ruiz also sent a letter to doctors at Stateville Correctional Center. Dr. Ruiz states that he would like to see the plaintiff for a follow-up in approximately six months. (Pl. Ex.#2). The plaintiff was then transferred to Menard Correctional Center in August of 2003 and remained there for approximately one year.

Defendant Dr. Faisal Ahmed was Medical Director at the Menard Correctional Center. Dr. Ahmed conducted a complete review of the plaintiff's cardiac status when he was transferred to Menard. The doctor was aware that the plaintiff was seen by a cardiac specialist the month before. This specialist had conducted an echocardiogram and recommended certain medication for the plaintiff. Dr. Ahmed ordered the prescription for the plaintiff.

Dr. Ahmed says there were no procedures pending for the plaintiff, nor was there need for any follow-up care with a cardiologist. The plaintiff was placed on the cardiac chronic clinic list to be examined every four months.

The plaintiff was again seen in the cardiac clinic on November 21, 2003. The plaintiff "had good control of his blood pressure and was not in notable distress." (Dr. Ahmed Aff., p. 2). Dr. Ahmed says he reviewed the medical record of this examination.

Dr. Ahmed states that he noted the patent had a routine follow-up scheduled at the University of Illinois at Chicago. However, Dr.Ahmed says he believes the doctors who made the suggestion were under the impression that the patient was still incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, not in Menard Correctional Center in Southern Illinois. "In my medical judgment, Mr. Rodgers could have been seen by a local cardiac physician if needed. As of January 21, 2004, Mr. Rodgers did not appear to be in need of an immediate referral to a cardiac specialist." (Dr. Ahmed Aff.,p. 3)

On February 24, 2004, the plaintiff was scheduled for blood work, but he refused the blood work and an EKG.

On March 23, 2004, the plaintiff was against seen in the cardiac chronic clinic. The plaintiff admitted he had refused the earlier testing and demanded to see a cardiologist because he believed he needed to be examined by a specialist. The plaintiff was warned that he was putting himself in jeopardy if he refused the testing and the plaintiff agreed to cooperate.

The plaintiff was seen again in the cardiac chronic clinic on July 19, 1004. Dr. Ahmed states there were no findings noted that indicated the plaintiff was in need of an immediate transfer to see a cardiologist. Dr. Ahmed says he knew the plaintiff would be transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center in one month, and he believed that any future follow-up care ...

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