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Anthony Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources

August 13, 2012

ANTHONY WHEELER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., DENNIS LARSON, CHRISTINE BROWN, ANGEL RECTOR, LOUIS SHICKER, R. SHUTE, RANDY DAVIS, ROD BLAGOHEVICH, DR. AGRAWAL,
BRENDA PAULSMEYER, MARY DOLCE, G. TAYLOR, K. DEEN, SHERRY BENTON, O. OBADINA, ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW BOARD, PAT QUINN, S. A. GODINEZ, JANET ROBERTS, ROBERTA FEWS, H. BRYANT, NURSE MELVIN, P. DINTELMAN, ANGIE BRUNS, DR. SHEPARD, DR. WAHL,
DR. SHAH, CRISEY FENTON, SHERRIE L. PERKINS, LUKE HARTIGAN, E. BECKY, DONAL GAETZ, JACLYN O'DAY, UNIVERSITY OF IL MEDICAL CENTER, LANNE MAES, AND SUZANN GRISWALD BAILEY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge:

ORDER

Plaintiff Anthony Wheeler, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently housed at Danville Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of his constitutional rights. At the time Plaintiff filed this action, he was housed in the Danville Correctional Center ("Danville"). However, his claims arose during his incarceration in Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"). Plaintiff is serving a 27-year sentence on several robbery offenses.

Pursuant to the order of the Seventh Circuit remanding this case after an interlocutory appeal, Count 1 of Plaintiff's complaint, along with the pending motions for injunctive relief, have already been referred to United States Magistrate Stephen C. Williams for further proceedings (Doc. 53). See Anthony Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., No. 12-1806 (7th Cir. Jul. 23, 2012). The remainder of Plaintiff's claims are now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon careful review of the complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

The following summary of facts is taken from Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 14). From November 2005 through July 27, 2011, Plaintiff suffered from two golf-ball size bleeding hemorrhoids, which caused him constant, excruciating pain. The bleeding has been so severe that Plaintiff had to resort to wearing a "makeshift sanitary napkin" made from toilet paper, to absorb the bleeding that occurs during normal daily activities, such as bending, walking and sitting (Doc. 14, p. 4). After Defendant Dr. Obadina refused to recommend surgery to correct the problem, Plaintiff made numerous requests for treatment to various Defendants. Defendant Shicker referred Plaintiff to an outside specialist for a colonoscopy, which was performed on October 28, 2010, by Dr. Leyland Thomas (Doc. 14, p. 2). Dr. Thomas recommended immediate surgery.

Upon Plaintiff's return to Pinckneyville, however, he was informed by Defendants Rector, Larson and Brown that the surgery had been disapproved as too costly. Further, they threatened to put Plaintiff into punitive segregation and confiscate his typewriter if he persisted in filing grievances and complaints. Soon after, on November 1, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Dr. R. Shute, who also recommended surgery. However, as of the date Plaintiff submitted the operative complaint on November 7, 2011 (over one year later, and more than three months after he had been transferred to Danville), no surgery had been performed. Instead, Plaintiff's hemorrhoids were treated with over-the-counter remedies, which he alleges have only worsened his condition.

Despite the threat of segregation, Plaintiff continued to file written grievances over the denial of medical care. Defendants Dolce, Taylor, Paulsmeyer, Deen, Benton, and Davis denied each one (Doc. 14, pp. 3-4).

Plaintiff further contends that the prison diet, which contains significant amounts of soy products, has contributed to the worsening of his hemorrhoids, as well as caused him other complications. Those symptoms included chronic constipation, painful digestion, bleeding during bowel movements, vomiting, rashes, acne, fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold all the time, and infection with "H. plori"*fn1 (Doc. 14, pp. 4, 9). Plaintiff's research has disclosed that Defendant "Blagohevich" (correctly spelled Blagojevich), the former Illinois Governor, implemented a change in the prison diet in January 2003 to save money by using soy products in place of meat and cheese, and adding soy flour or soy protein to baked goods. Plaintiff has requested a non-soy diet from Defendants O'Day, Shicker, Quinn, Taylor, Dintelman, Davis, Brown, Larson, Bryant and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), but his requests have been denied, as have Plaintiff's grievances over the refusal to provide a soy-free diet (Doc. 14, pp. 4, 7). He also claims that Defendants Rector, Shute, Agrawal, Paulsmeyer, Dolce, Deen, Obadina, Godinez, Roberts, Melvin, Bruns, Shepard, Wahl, Shah, Benton, Hartigan, Becky, Gaetz and Fews were involved in the denial of his requests for a soy-free diet (Doc. 14, p. 9).

When Plaintiff learned that long term consumption of soy products could lead to a "severe life threatening bacterial infection known as H. plori [sic]," he requested medical testing from Defendant Wexford. He in fact tested positive for H. pylori (Doc. 14, pp. 6-7). However, he also learned that Defendants Perkins and Bruns had known of his test results but deliberately withheld that information from him after they were informed Plaintiff had filed grievances regarding the matter. He claims that Defendants Wexford, Larson, Brown, Rector, Shicker, Shute, Agrawal, Roberts, Fews, Melvin, Dintelman, Bruns, Shepard, Wahl, Shah, Fenton, Hartigan, Becky, Blagojevich, Obadina, Deen, Paulsmeyer, Davis, Benton, Godinez, O'Day, University of Illinois Medical Center, Lanne Maes, Griswald Bailey and Quinn, knew or should have known that Plaintiff was a carrier of H. pylori, and deliberately refused to adequately treat this bacterial infection.

Based on these factual allegations, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his needs for medical care for his hemorrhoids and bacterial infection, inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on him by forcing him to eat soy products, violated his right to equal protection of the law by denying him medical care and spreading rumors that homosexual behavior caused his hemorrhoids, violated his rights to redress of grievances and access to the courts, and retaliated against him by threatening him with segregation and loss of his typewriter if he persisted in filing grievances (Doc. 14, pp. 10-14). He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

In addition to the second amended complaint, Plaintiff has filed a motion for leave to supplement his complaint to add additional Defendants (Doc. 38), as well as two motions (Docs. 45 and 47) seeking leave to amend his complaint to add state law claims, and a motion to supplement the record (Doc. 50). As shall be explained in more detail below, these motions shall be denied without prejudice. Plaintiff's recently appointed counsel has been granted leave to file a Third Amended Complaint if he deems it appropriate to do so (Doc. 53), and may include additional Defendants and/or state law claims if necessary.

Discussion

Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into six counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

Count 1 - Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Need -- Hemorrhoids

In this Court's order of July 24, 2012 (Doc. 53), this count against Wexford, Larson, Brown, Rector, Shicker, Shute, Agrawal, Taylor, Obadina and Godinez was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams for further ...


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