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Collins v. Doe

September 19, 2007

SAMUEL COLLINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN DOE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court are the defendant, IKECHUKWU UZOARU's summary judgment motion [244] and the plaintiff's response [254].

Standard

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P.56(c); Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Herman v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028 (1985). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992). Further, this burden can be satisfied by "'showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. If such a showing is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 837. A nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must demonstrate that there is admissible evidence that will support its position. Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). Credibility questions "defeat summary judgment only '[w]here an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility.'" Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 838, citing Advisory Committee Notes, 1963 Amendment to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(other citations omitted).

Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party there is no 'genuine' issue for trial." Mechnig v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359 (7th Cir. 1988). A "metaphysical doubt" will not suffice. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Disputed facts are material only if they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992). The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, *247-248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986).

Background

The plaintiff claims that during the period May 2003 through October 2003, the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He alleges that beginning on May 4, 2003, he started experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath and numbness in his arms. After collapsing in the yard, he was taken to the Health Care Unit at Danville Correctional where he was provided medical treatment by Nurses Marilyn Sia and Barbara Roundtree. The treatment included an electrocardiogram (EKG). The nurses advised Collins that the EKG was normal and that there was nothing wrong with him. One of the nurses spoke with Dr. Uzoaru, who ordered that the plaintiff be kept in the infirmary. The plaintiff remained in the infirmary for two days. On the second day, May 6, 2006, Dr. Uzoaru advised the plaintiff that he would get another evaluation later and ordered that the plaintiff be returned to his housing unit.

On May 9, 2003, the plaintiff returned to the Health Care Unit for a follow-up visit. He had blood drawn for further tests. Dr. Uzoaru discussed the plaintiff's high blood pressure and high cholesterol level with him and advised the plaintiff to take "it easy." On May 12, 2003, the plaintiff again experienced chest pain, shortness of breath and numbness in his arms. He advised one of the correctional officers of his medical concerns. The officer called the Health Care Unit. The plaintiff was taken to the Health Care Unit on a stretcher. The plaintiff was given another EKG and medical staff advised him that the readings were normal. However, Dr. Uzoaru ordered the nurse to keep the plaintiff in the infirmary for one day. On May 13, 2003, Dr. Uzoaru prescribed medication for the plaintiff's high blood pressure. He advised the plaintiff that he did not know what was causing his symptoms and released the plaintiff back to his housing unit.

On May 14, 2003, the plaintiff again experienced chest pain, shortness of breath and numbness in his arms. Nurses Paula Clauston and Barbara Roundtree provided medical care to the plaintiff. Clauston spoke with Dr. Uzoaru over the phone. Dr. Uzoaru ordered that the plaintiff be placed in the infirmary overnight. The next day, Dr. Uzoaru examined the plaintiff by taking vital signs that included checking his blood pressure and listening to his lungs. He also ordered a stress test.

On May 29, 2003, the plaintiff was taken to an outside hospital, where a stress test was performed. After the stress test, the plaintiff was returned to Danville Correctional Center. Linda Davies, a nurse at Danville Correctional Center, advised the plaintiff that she would speak to the doctor about the results of the stress test, then released the plaintiff from the Health Care Unit back to his housing unit. On May 30, 2003, the plaintiff again experienced chest pains, shortness of breath and numbness in his arms. He was taken to the Health Care Unit where two nurses, George Gothias and Neale Aziark provided treatment that included a blood test. They advised the plaintiff that the test was normal. Dr. Uzoaru ordered that the plaintiff be returned to the housing unit because he had determined nothing was wrong with the plaintiff.

On October 17, 2003, the plaintiff had another medical episode. He was taken to a hospital in Danville, Illinois and then transferred to Provena Covenant Hospital in Urbana, Illinois. Provena prescribed and performed an angiogram. The angiogram demonstrated that the plaintiff required open heart surgery. The surgery was performed successfully at Provena, after which the plaintiff was returned to Danville Correctional Center. Dr. Uzoaru denies he was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical need.

UNDISPUTED STATEMENT OF FACTS

1. Mr. Samuel Collins is an inmate at Danville Correctional Center.

2. Mr. Collins was an inmate at the Danville Correctional Center during the time frame alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint, May 4, 2003 through October 17, 2003 and January 10, 2004 through January 17, 2004.

3. During this time period, Mr. Collins was assessed by a number of caregivers, including but not limited to: Teri Irwin, Doris Armour, Barbara Roundtree, Paula Clawson, George Guidas, Neale Aziaka, Sharon Stark, and Dr. Uzoaru. See Co-Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [246].

4. Dr. Uzoaru was the medical director at the Danville Correctional Center from October, 1997 through November, 2003. See Exh. 1.

5. During his employment as the medical director at the Danville Correctional Center, Dr. Uzoaru saw an inmate by the name of Samuel Collins, Inmate No. B35214. See Exh. 1.

6. From May 4, 2003 through October 17, 2003, and January 10, 2004, through January 17, 2004 (the time frame alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint), Dr. Uzoaru saw and/or provided orders to the nursing staff regarding Mr. Collins on the following occasions: May 4, 2003, May 5, 2003, May 6, 2003, May 9, 2003, May 12, 2003, May 13, 2003, May 14, 2003, May 15, 2003, May 16, 2003, May 20, 2003, May 27, 2003, May 30, 2003, June 11, 2003, June 25, 2003, July 6, 2003, August 15, 2003, September 22, 2003, September 26, 2003, October 17, 2003. See Exhibit 1.

7. On May 4, 2003, Dr. Uzoaru was contacted by the nursing staff regarding Mr. Collins' complaints of chest pain. Dr. Uzoaru ordered ASA [Acetylsalicylic Acid/Aspirin] 325 mgs. II p.o. now and that Mr. Collins be placed in the infirmary for 23-hour observation. The nursing staff was also instructed to give Mr. Collins oxygen via nasal cannula. (See Exhibit 1-A).

8. On May 5, 2003, at 12:15, Dr. Uzoaru examined Mr. Collins and recorded the following:

S. Brief history: 30 yo BM [year old black male] history of chest pain yesterday while playing basketball. Personal history of increased lipid ?DM.

O. Physical Examination: A & O x3 neck ok chest - clear S1 S2 only Abd. benign

A. Admitting Diagnosis: Angina?

Diet: Regular Diet. FBS, FLP, CBC, Fasting Chem Pro. Frequency of Vital Signs:

Q shift. Medication Orders: Ecotron 325 mgs. T po daily x 5 mths.

See Exhibit 1-B.

9. Based upon his examination, Dr. Uzoaru found Mr. Collins was stable, was not in any acute distress, but continued to monitor and assess his condition for changes.

10. On May 6, 2003, Dr. Uzoaru prepared a Discharge Summary, which states as follows: Active Problems/Diagnosis: Chest Pain, work up for atherosclerosis. Medications: Ecotrin [aspirin] 325 mgs. II po daily x 5 months Follow-Up: Await blood results. See Exhibit 1-C.

11. Per his assessment, Dr. Uzoaru thought it was medically necessary to order blood tests for Mr. Collins based on his complaints of chest pain and atherosclerosis. However Dr. Uzoaru also found that Mr. Collins was medically stable and therefore discharged him from the Health Care Unit. See Exhibit 1.

12. Dr. Uzoaru next assessed Mr. Collins on May 9, 2003 at 10:00 a.m. in a follow-up visit. Per his note, he recorded the following:

S. Increase lipids

A. Increase lipids

P. Lescol 2 p daily x 5. A Lescol 20 mg. p.o. dly x 5 mths. Repeat FLP 6 weeks. See Exhibit 1-D.

13. Lescol is used to reduce the amount of cholesterol and certain other fatty substances in the blood. See Exhibit 1.

14. On May 12, 2003, Dr. Uzoaru received a call from the nursing staff, who advised him that Mr. Collins was again complaining of chest pain. Per Dr. Uzoaru's orders, he was admitted to the infirmary for a 23-hour observation, with vitals to be checked every shift. He was also to be given a regular diet, Clonadine, 0.2 mg. p.o. one time only now. See Exhibit 1-E. Dr. Uzoaru prescribed Clonadine to treat Mr. Collins' high blood pressure. See Exhibit 1.

15. On May 13, 2003, Dr. Uzoaru personally assessed Mr. Collins while in the Health Care Unit. Per Dr. Uzoaru's medical note dated May 13, 2003, at 10:15:

S. Came to HCU with . BP and chest pain. Pt has dyslipidemia.

O. A & O x3. No chest pain. BP still elevated. I will start on Lopressor ...


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