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Bracey v. S.A. Godinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 14, 2014

DEMETRIOS[1] E. BRACEY, # B-60538, Plaintiff,
v.
S.A. GODINEZ, WEXFORD MEDICAL SOURCES, INC., MARC HODGE, MRS. TREADWAY, MARK STORM, DR. PHIL MARTIN, CLAUDIA DOWTY, JAMES OCHS, and SAMUEL CLARK, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition.

More specifically, Plaintiff claims that in August 2013, he was examined by a Lawrence physician (Dr. Coe, who is not a Defendant) due to severe pain in his lower back related to a past injury (Doc. 1, p. 5). Dr. Coe ordered an x-ray and prescribed pain medication for Plaintiff.

On August 29, 2013, not long after this medical visit, Plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet floor outside his cell. Although he initially thought he was not injured, by the time he arrived at the yard he felt a sharp, extreme pain in his back. He asked Defendant Lieutenant Ochs for help. Defendant Ochs sent Plaintiff back to the housing unit, but refused to summon help and threatened to send Plaintiff to segregation (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Back at the housing unit, Plaintiff told Defendant Officer Clark about his injury and the fact that he had pre-existing back problems, and asked him for help to get medical attention. Defendant Clark requested Defendant Nurse Dowty to see Plaintiff because he was in severe pain from the fall (Doc. 1, p. 7). Defendant Dowty refused to see Plaintiff because he was not on her appointment list, and said he should put in a sick call slip. Later in the day, Defendant Clark again contacted Defendant Dowty seeking help for Plaintiff. She again refused to see him because she was too busy. Plaintiff asked Defendant Clark to make a report of this contact, but Defendant Clark refused. He did, however, contact the Health Care Unit again on Plaintiff's behalf. He was told that because Plaintiff had just been there a few days before (apparently for the visit with Dr. Coe), they could do nothing for him and he should just wait for his prescribed pain medication to arrive, and "deal with the pain" in the meantime (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff asked Defendant Clark for the name of the person in the Health Care Unit who had given this information, but Defendant Clark would not disclose it.

Plaintiff had to wait in extreme pain for days before he could see the doctor. Plaintiff asked for an MRI because his pain had been so much worse since the slip and fall (Doc. 1, p. 8). However, that test was never given. Plaintiff has received his prescribed pain medication, but it has had "little or no effect" on his daily, ongoing pain (Doc. 1, p. 9). He claims to have made repeated requests to various medical staff for an MRI to find out why his pain has continued to be so extreme, to no avail.

Plaintiff filed grievances complaining about the inadequate medical care, and sent letters to the warden and assistant wardens (Defendants Hodge, Storm, and Treadway) and Health Care Unit Administrator Defendant Martin, but nobody has addressed his complaints. He seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction for the provision of adequate medical care, as well as damages and other relief (Doc. 1, p. 21).

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.

Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated the following colorable federal causes of action, which shall receive further review:

Count 1: Defendant Dowty and an unknown (John/Jane Doe) medical provider contacted by Defendant Clark[2] refused to evaluate or treat Plaintiff, with deliberate indifference to his serious need for immediate medical care and pain relief following his slip and fall on August 29, 2014;

Count 2: Defendant Ochs refused to summon medical assistance for Plaintiff, with deliberate indifference to his serious need for immediate medical care and pain relief following his slip and fall on August 29, 2014.

However, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for deliberate indifference against any other named Defendant, or against any medical provider, for the failure to provide effective pain relief or to order further diagnostic testing (Count 3). This claim shall be dismissed without prejudice, but Plaintiff shall be allowed an opportunity to amend his complaint with respect to this count, as outlined below.

Additionally, liability cannot be imposed upon those supervisory Defendants who received complaints from Plaintiff, but were not personally involved in his medical care. Nor does Plaintiff state a constitutional claim for any violation of the health care privacy law that may have occurred when unknown medical staff discussed Plaintiff's prior medical visit with Defendant Clark. Finally, Defendant Clark's conduct does not evince any deliberate indifference to ...


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