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Gaddis v. Walker

March 31, 2010

JASON M. GADDIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER E. WALKER, JR. 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 defendants, Sandra Hill, Dr. Sylvia Mahone, Dr. Liping Zhang, and Dr. Olukunle Obadina's summary judgment motion [87], the plaintiff's response [99] and the defendants' reply [97], the defendants, Jon Deal, Kerri Mehenkens, Teresa Kisro, Tracy Maue, Brian Fairchild, Terri Anderson, Roger E Walker, Jr, Eddie Jones, John Birkel, Christine Beasley, Steve Smith, Patrick Hastings' summary judgment motion [89], the plaintiff's response [93] and the defendants' reply [95].

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has filed his complaint in regards to medical care he has received while in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Specifically, plaintiff alleges the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need in regards to an inguinal hernia. Plaintiff has been incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections continuously since 1996. In late January of 2006, plaintiff felt a sharp pain in his groin while moving boxes in his cell at the Lawrence Correctional Center. The plaintiff makes allegations against Wexford Health Sources, Inc. for its role in the development of medical/clinical policies within the Illinois Department of Corrections. Plaintiff has specified that his complaint with Wexford is the fact that he had to continue to pay a $2.00 co-pay for his follow-up visits in regard to his hernia.

UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS*fn1

1. At all relevant times, plaintiff was incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections. (See complaint generally).

2. In late January 2006, plaintiff suffered what turned out to be an inguinal hernia. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 10).

3. Plaintiff put in for nurse sick call but before he was able to be seen, he was transferred to the Henry Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg, IL. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 10). Plaintiff was incarcerated at Hill Correctional Center from February of 2006 until October of 2006. (Exhibit A, p. 8 attached to defendants' memorandum of law [90]).

4. Plaintiff was seen and evaluated by a doctor at the Hill Correctional Center. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 11). The doctor provided the plaintiff with Tylenol and diagnosed the plaintiff with an inguinal hernia. (Plaintiff's dep pg. 11). The doctor at the Hill Correctional Center also provided plaintiff with a hernia belt. (Plaintiff's dep pg. 11).

5. The doctor at the Hill Correctional Center did not prescribe the plaintiff surgery. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 13). In March 2007, the plaintiff was seen by a doctor at the Pontiac Correctional Center. (Plaintiff's dep pgs. 20-21).

6. Plaintiff describes Dr. Zhang as an older gentleman of African descent. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 21).

7. During this visit, the plaintiff testified that his hernia was about the same size as it was in the beginning. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 22).

8. Plaintiff knows of two other inmates who have received surgery for their inguinal hernias while incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. (Plaintiff's dep. pg. 32).

9. The medical records state that Mr. Jason Gaddis was seen for reception screening on October 25, 2006.*fn2 (Exhibits A and A-1.)

10. The medical records reflect that the Plaintiff made no complaints at the time of his intake screening.*fn3 (Exhibits A and A-1.)

11. Mr. Gaddis first made complaints regarding the hernia complained of in his complaint on March 25, 2007*fn4 . (Exhibit A.)

12. On that date, Plaintiff made a sick call request that stated, "I need to see about my hernia. It hurts." (Exhibits A and A-2.)

13. Subsequently, on March 27, 2007, the Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Vade in the M.D. sick call line. Dr. Vade's note from that date states as follows:

S (subjective) Patient here complaining of left inguinal hernia since February 06. It bothers him when he (illegible). Admits he is able to push back.

O (objective) Alert and oriented X 3. Vital signs within normal limits. Left inguinal hernia -- small 2" x 1/2". Reducible.

A (assessment) As above.

P (plan) Tylenol 325 mg. Patient educated about hernias. No medication at present. (Exhibits A and A-2.)

14. On this date, Plaintiff was complaining to Dr. Vade regarding his hernia. Dr. Vade examined him and found him to have a small, reducible hernia for which he prescribed Tylenol. Dr. Vade found that no other medication was necessary and educated the Plaintiff about hernias. (Exhibit A.)

15. The next entry in the Plaintiff's medical records is from May 4, 2007. On that date it appears the Plaintiff was suffering from a headache and was evaluated by a nurse for his complaints. (Exhibits A and A-3.)

16. On June 13, 2007, Sylvia Mahone, M.D. evaluated the Plaintiff for his complaints regarding his hernia. Plaintiff was originally seen on this date by a nurse. Her note states as follows:

RN Note:

O (objective) Hernia left lower abdomen getting larger and causing pain.

A (assessment) Hernia. (Exhibits A and A-4.)

17. Subsequently, Plaintiff was referred to Dr. Mahone. Her note from that date states as follows:

S (subjective) Hernia since 5/06. Had a hernia belt previously -- it is in his property.

O (objective) Vital signs as above. Left inguinal hernia 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 . Easily reducible. Waist: 30 1/2 ".

A (assessment) 1) left inguinal hernia.

P (plan) 1) Tylenol 325 mg 2 tablets by mouth twice a day as needed, #24 -- 2 refills; 2) hernia belt -- waist 30 1/2 ". (Exhibits A and A-4.)

18. On this date, Dr. Mahone evaluated the Plaintiff during his urgent care visit for complaints of a painful hernia. Dr. Mahone's assessment was the Plaintiff had an easily reducible 2 1/2 " x 2 1/2 " inguinal hernia. Dr. Mahone prescribed the Plaintiff pain medication and a hernia belt in order to help alleviate his problems. (Exhibit A.)

19. Dr. Mahone next saw the Plaintiff on June 19, 2007. Her note from that date states as follows:

MD Note:

Hernia causing a lot of pain when stair climbing.

P (plan) 1) Low gallery permit for 1 years 6/19/07 to 6/19/08. (Exhibits A and A-5.)

20. On this date the Plaintiff was seen regarding his complaints of his hernia causing him pain when he was climbing stairs. As a result, Dr. Mahone provided Plaintiff a low gallery permit for one year. A low gallery permit assured that the Plaintiff would be celled on a ground floor as to minimize the amount of stairs he would have to climb on a daily basis. (Exhibit A.)

21. This was the final time that Dr. Mahone treated the Plaintiff while at the Pontiac Correctional Center. Plaintiff was seen on two other occasions in the healthcare unit prior to being transferred to the Pinckneyville Correctional Center on September 26, 2007. (Exhibit A.)

22. Plaintiff's visits following our last visit were in regards to a cold from which the Plaintiff was suffering and a vaccine provided to the Plaintiff. (Exhibit A.)

23. Dr. Mahone had no involvement in the Plaintiff's care subsequent to June 19, 2007. (Exhibit A.)

24. Plaintiff's hernia was treated conservatively with pain medication. He was issued a hernia belt and a low gallery permit. (Exhibit A.)

25. During the time that Dr. Mahone treated the Plaintiff, his hernia did not require surgery in her medical opinion. (Exhibit A.)

26. Dr. Mahone is not aware of any IDOC policies which would prohibit a prisoner from receiving hernia surgery recommended and approved by the correctional facility's Medical Director. (Exhibit A.)

27. Wexford Health Sources, Inc. does not have a policy forbidding surgery for inmates suffering from an inguinal hernia. The decision to recommend surgery for an inguinal hernia is at the discretion of the treating physician. (Exhibits A, B, and D.)

28. When Dr. Mahone observed the Plaintiff's condition, his hernia was reducible and non-emergent. (Exhibit A.)

29. Dr. Mahone advised the Plaintiff that should his hernia become irreducible, surgery might be recommended at that point. Plaintiff was transferred to the Pinckneyville Correctional Center on September 23, 2007. (Exhibit A.)

30. Each time the Plaintiff was examined while under Dr. Mahone's care, the hernia continued to remain reducible. (Exhibit A.)

31. In Dr. Mahone's medical opinion, the Plaintiff was treated appropriately with conservative measures while at the Pontiac Correctional Center. (Exhibit A.)

32. Once the Plaintiff left the Pontiac Correctional Center, he was no longer under the care of Dr. Mahone, nor the care of anyone else affiliated with the Pontiac Correctional Center. (Exhibit A.)

33. Each time the Plaintiff made complaints, he was given additional pain medication or other medical treatment to address his immediate needs.*fn5 (Exhibit A.)

34. Upon review of the Plaintiff's medical records, it is apparent that Liping Zhang, M.D. did not see or treat the Plaintiff for his medical needs during the time that he spent incarcerated at the Pontiac Correctional Center. (Exhibit B.)

35. Furthermore, Dr. Zhang is a female of Asian descent. (Exhibit B.)

36. Dr. Zhang made no evaluations of the Plaintiff for his inguinal hernia. (Exhibit B.)

37. The medical records indicate the Plaintiff was seen for reception screening on September 26, 2007. (Exhibits C and C-1.)

38. On October 2, 2007, Plaintiff was seen in the healthcare unit at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center complaining of a common cold. (Exhibits C and C-2.)

39. Additionally, Plaintiff made complaints that he was suffering a hernia and that he needed his belts. This note was authored by the licensed practical nurse in the healthcare unit at the ...


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