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Williams v. Ravanam

March 18, 2009


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 93, 99] and the plaintiff's responses.

The plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed his lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 claiming his constitutional rights were violated at the Hill Correctional Center. The plaintiff has the following surviving claims:

1) Defendants Dr. Srinivas Ravanam, Dr. William Rankin, Warden Frank Shaw, Dr. Craig Svobado, Dr. Sylvia Mahone, Dr. Liping Zhang, Wexford Health Sources, Health Care Administrator Lois Lindorff-Mathes, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Roger Walker and Administrative Review Board Member Jackie Miller violated the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights when they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition; and,

2) Defendants Dr. Ravanam, Dr. Rankin, Dr. Shaw, Dr. Svobado, Dr. Mahone and Dr. Zhang conspired with Wexford Health Source to deprive the plaintiff of his Eighth Amendment rights.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that on September 14, 2004, he was sent to an outside hospital for a sonogram and a tumor was discovered. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants refused to provide him the necessary care and he continued to experience pain. The court noted that the documents attached to the plaintiff's original complaint, did not necessarily support his claims. Nonetheless, the court could not say that the plaintiff could prove no set of facts which would entitle him to relief. See September 12, 2006 Court Order; March 17, 2008 Case Management Order.


Dr. William Rankin states that he works for Wexford Health Sources, Inc. and is the Medical Director at East Moline Correctional Center. Dr. Rankin says he occasionally is asked to fill in at other prisons such as Hill Correctional Center. Dr. Srinivas Ravanam and Dr. Svoboda says they also worked for a period of time as a physicians at Hill Correctional Center. (Def. Memo, Ravanam Aff, p. 1), (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 1 ).

On February 5, 2004, the plaintiff was housed a Menard Correctional Center and reported that he had a lump above his penis on the left side. He was scheduled for a doctor's examination which occurred the next day. The plaintiff told the doctor he had an inguinal hernia. The doctor told the plaintiff to avoid heavy lifting and return to the medical department as needed. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 10-11).

From March 19, 2004 to April 3, 2004, the plaintiff was seen and treated four times for genital warts. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 11-13) On May 5, 2004, the plaintiff was transferred to Hill Correctional Center where his treatment for genital warts continued. From May 5, 2004 until July 1, 2004, the plaintiff was examined and/or treated by medical staff at least 18 times. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 13-18). The plaintiff does not complain of other medical conditions.

In July of 2004, the plaintiff was seen on two occasions due to an injury he received while in the yard. On August 23, 2004, the plaintiff saw a license nurse and complained that his genitals were swollen and painful. Tylenol was prescribed and a doctor's visit was arranged. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 20). The plaintiff was examined a second time by a nurse practioner on August 25, 2004. The plaintiff reported mild tenderness and the nurse indicated that based on her examination, she felt the plaintiff may have been suffering from a hydrocele. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 20-21)

Dr. Svoboda explains that a hydrocele is when a:

sac surrounding a testicle fills with fluid, resulting in swelling of the scrotum. It is common amongst male infants, and most of the time, the swelling goes away on its own without any treatment. Hydroceles usually are not painful, or harmful, but may be an indication of other problems. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 21).

The plaintiff was examined by Dr. Seaver on August 31, 2004 who felt the plaintiff was suffering from an undescended testicle with a hydrocele. Dr. Seaver decided to request an ultrasound to assist in his diagnosis. The test was approved and conducted at an outside hospital in September of 2004. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 22-23).

The results of the ultra sound revealed a mass above the left testis. However, the report states that the "nature of this mass or mass-like structure is not certain." Sept. 14, 2004 Radiology Report. Dr Seaver says it might be a inguinal scrotal hernia or a type of tumor. The report also noted a hydrocele.

On October 10, 2004, the plaintiff was seen by a nurse complaining of pain. However, after examining the plaintiff, the nurse indicated that she saw no objective indication of pain. The nurse assesses that the plaintiff is suffering from discomfort. She prescribes Advil, asks the plaintiff to return to the Health Care Unit and says he can return to work. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 25).

The plaintiff missed a medical visit on October 15, 2004, but again saw a nurse on October 18, 2004. The plaintiff stated he had the same problem in his groin area and wanted to see a doctor about his test results. The plaintiff did see a doctor on October 25, 2004, and the doctor notes the plaintiff is under no apparent distress. The doctor refers the plaintiff to the medical director for further evaluation in one week.

On November 1, 2004, the plaintiff is examined by a doctor who notes that the plaintiff does report pain in his groin area. The doctor assesses the problem as an inguinal hernia. The doctor notes that the plaintiff needs to see a urologist, prescribes a hernia belt and tells the plaintiff to layoff from work. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 26-27).

On January 12, 2005, the plaintiff's medical chart is reviewed. It was determined that the plaintiff's hernia was likely not in need of surgery because it seemed to be reducible. This means that it could be returned to the abdominal cavity by either the patient lying on his side or the physician applying pressure with his fingers. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 27-28) It was determined that more documentation was needed and the signs and symptoms of a more serious problems needed to be reviewed with the plaintiff.

On January 20, 3005, Dr. Rankin evaluated the plaintiff and noted that his hernia was easily reducible. The doctor advises the plaintiff to wear his hernia belt and states that there is no need for a urologist appointment. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 28) The plaintiff was seen by optometry or medical staff on January 24, April 6 and June 7 of 2005. None of the visits referred to the plaintiff's hernia.

On June 26, 2005, the plaintiff was seen by a nurse. The plaintiff claimed that a sonogram had determined he had a tumor and he needed follow up care. The plaintiff was scheduled for an examination with a doctor, but he did not show for the appointment. (Def. Memo, Svoboda Aff. p. 290)

The plaintiff was seen by optometry or medical staff on July 28, August 7, and September 3, 2005, but the visits did not concern the plaintiff's hernia. On September 6, 2005, ...

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