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Eric Langham v. Roger E. Walker

July 18, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James E. Shadid United States District Judge


Monday, 18 July, 2011 02:00:06 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


This matter is now before the Court on Defendants' Richard Shute, Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Lois Lindorff and Willard Elyea Motions for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment [#35, #37] are GRANTED.


This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against five Defendants from Hill Correctional Center. Plaintiff Eric Langham ("Langham") is an inmate incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections at Hill Correctional Center. He claims a delay in medical care from August 16, 2007 to August 21, 2007 and seeks compensation for the pain and suffering he experienced during those five days.

Langham first recognized a problem on the skin of his right arm about seven to ten days before August 16, 2007. On August 16, 2007, Defendant Dr. Rich Shute ("Dr. Shute") treated Langham at a cardiac and high blood pressure clinic. During his visit, Langham complained about tenderness in his elbow and showed Dr. Shute bumps on his arm. Dr. Shute stated that the swelling was probably due to insect bites, noted the multiple tender scaly papules near the right elbow, and diagnosed Langham with a small bacterial infection. He prescribed Langham with Bactrim, an antibiotic. Langham was instructed to take the medication twice a day for fourteen days.

Five days later, on August 21, 2007, while working at the prison library, Langham complained of pain on his right arm. Prison officers viewed his arm and called the healthcare unit. Langham was seen again by Dr. Shute. Langham told Dr. Shute that the bumps on this right elbow worsened and that the medication had no effect. Although Langham believed that his condition was due to a spider bite, Dr. Shute assumed that his condition was due to a staph infection since the infection was circulating through prison institution. Dr. Shute told Langham that his bosses instructed him to diagnose any bumps or swelling as insect bites. Dr. Shute noted tender lesions along Langham's forearm, swelling of the elbow, and papules on the exterior side of the right arm. Dr. Shute also recorded Langham's unresponsiveness to general Bactrim medication and planned to transfer him immediately to the Galesburg Cottage Hospital Emergency Room for further evaluation and management.

Later that afternoon, Langham arrived at Cottage Hospital. Lab results indicated that Langham had a staphylococcus aureus infection ("staph infection"). The medical staff also diagnosed him with cellulitis. The staff instructed Langham to stop taking Bactrim and begin a prescription of Levaquin for nine days. Langham was discharged that same evening. He reported feeling better the next day and requested to return to his housing unit by that evening.

Langham maintains that Dr. Shute possessed first hand knowledge of a memo circulated throughout Hill Correctional Center that warned staff of a possible outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ("MRSA"). However, Langham was never diagnosed with MRSA.

Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford") is a private corporation that employs healthcare workers who provide, among other things, healthcare to prison inmates. Langham maintains that Wexford provided subpar medical care to each of its responsible institutions, including Hill Correctional Center. In particular, he alleges that Wexford's policy instructed Dr. Shute to intentionally misdiagnose swelling of arms as spider bites instead of staph infections.

Defendant Lois Lindorff ("Lindorff") is the Health Care Unit Administrator at Hill Correctional Center. Langham alleges that Lindorff, in her supervisory position at Hill Correctional Center, required medical professionals to intentionally misdiagnose medical conditions such as staph infections.

Defendant Willard Elyea ("Elyea") is the former Medical Director for the Illinois Department of Corrections. Langham asserts that Elyea systematically instructed his subordinates to provide minimal or no assistance to save money. Elyea resigned from the Illinois Department of Corrections on ...

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