United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS, Magistrate Judge.
Before the Court are two motions for summary judgment filed by Defendants. Defendant James Fenoglio has filed a motion for summary judgment (Docs. 81 and 82) arguing that he was not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's headaches/skull pain and protrusion at the base of his cervical spine. Defendant Phil Martin has also filed a motion for summary judgment (Docs. 84 and 85) arguing that he was not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's pain at the base of his skull. Plaintiff has filed Responses (Docs. 90, 91 and 92, 93, respectively). Both Fenoglio (Doc. 95) and Martin (Doc. 96) have filed Reply briefs. Based on the following, the Court GRANTS both Defendants' motions for summary judgment (Docs. 81, 82 and 84, 85).
II. Findings of Fact
Plaintiff brings his Complaint for deliberate indifference for medical care that he received while at Lawrence Correctional Center. Plaintiff was previously housed at Dixon Correctional Center and there began experiencing head pain in January 2011 (Doc. 82 Ex. 1 at pp. 7, 9). Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence Correctional in June 2011 ( Id. at p. 8). Plaintiff saw a nurse practitioner on August 8, 2011 for an eczema facial rash and was prescribed Triamcinolone, a steroid ointment (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 3; Ex. 1 at p. 24). Plaintiff complained of pain in his back and skull on October 6, 2011 (Doc. 91 Ex. A at pp. 45-47; Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 5). The nurse who saw him prescribed 200mg of Ibuprofen and referred him to the doctor ( Id. ). Plaintiff saw Defendant Fenoglio on October 10, 2011 (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 6). At that time, Plaintiff complained of neck and back pain. Fenoglio noted that he appeared healthy and could move easily ( Id.; Ex. 2 at p. 51). Plaintiff was prescribed Ibuprofen for his pain ( Id.; Ex. 2 at p. 53).
Plaintiff again saw Fenoglio on December 2, 2011 (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 8). At this time, Plaintiff claimed that the light hurt his eyes and the back of his neck felt like he had an elephant sitting on it ( Id.; Ex. 2 at pp. 58-59). Fenoglio noted that Plaintiff did not appear to be in distress and that his eyes were open when the lights were on ( Id.; Ex. 2 at pp. 59-60). Plaintiff was prescribed more Ibuprofen. At that time, Fenoglio also ordered that Plaintiff's skull and cervical spine be x-rayed and x-rays were taken on December 14, 2011 (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at pp. 61-62; Ex. 3 at p. 9). The result of the x-rays were negative (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at p. 64; Ex. 4 at p. 2).
Plaintiff presented a sick call on December 21, 2011 complaining of pain, trouble sleeping, and heartburn (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 9; Ex. 2 at pp. 68-69). Plaintiff saw Fenoglio again on December 23, 2011 ( Id. at p. 11; Ex. 2 at pp. 71-72). At that time, Fenoglio believed that Plaintiff's symptoms might be anxiety-tension headaches and noted that he was being weaned off of Klonopin. Fenoglio noted in his chart that Plaintiff should follow up with a psychiatrist ( Id. ). Fenoglio testified that he did not make an appointment with the psychiatrist as Plaintiff's unit would make the appointment (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at p. 73). Plaintiff did see a psychiatrist, Dr. Kowalkawsi, on December 29, 2011 (Doc. 82 Ex. 4 at p. 4).
Plaintiff was next evaluated by a nurse practitioner on January 11, 2012, this time for eczema (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 12). Plaintiff indicated at that time that he knew his neck pain was not due to a topical steroid which he requested from the nurse practitioner ( Id. ). Plaintiff saw Fenoglio again in March 7, 2012 (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 13). Plaintiff presented with knee pain from a previous injury and Fenoglio ordered a physical therapy evaluation ( Id.; Ex. 1 at pp. 15-16; Ex. 2 at pp. 79-80). He also complained of pain in his neck but Fenoglio found no tenderness and Plaintiff had full range of motion in his neck (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at pp. 79-80). Fenoglio also prescribed Plaintiff Ibuprofen (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 13; Ex. 2 at p. 80).
Plaintiff next put in a sick call on May 5, 2012 and June 23, 2012 for acid reflux (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at pp. 15-17). He was given antacids. Fenoglio saw Plaintiff on June 26, 2012 (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 18). At that time, Plaintiff presented with a lump on his neck, which Defendant Fenoglio diagnosed as a "Hampton's hump" although he meant to label it a "Buffalo hump" which is a hump caused by the overuse of steroid creams (Doc. 82 Ex. 1 at p. 18; Ex. 3 at p. 18; Ex. 2 at pp. 92-93). Fenoglio testified that he knew what he meant, he just wrote down the wrong word (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at pp. 93-94). He also labeled it a "steroid hump" (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 18). Fenoglio believed the hump was caused by Plaintiff's treatment of his rash with hydrocortisone creams which he was prescribed and sometimes received from fellow inmates (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at pp. 93-94; Ex. 1 at pp. 24-25). As such, Fenoglio ordered that Plaintiff stop using the steroid cream (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at p. 94). At the June 26, 2012 visit, Fenoglio also prescribed Plaintiff Tramadol, a non-narcotic pain medication, for his neck pain ( Id. ). Fenoglio also ordered x-rays of Plaintiff's spine which were, again, normal (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at p. 96; Ex. 4 at p. 3).
Fenoglio also ordered a serum cortisol blood test for Plaintiff to check the levels of steroid in his blood (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at pp. 95-96). The test was taken on July 10, 2012 and were in the normal range (Doc. 82 Ex. 4 at p. 5). Fenoglio saw Plaintiff on July 25, 2012 and prescribed Prilosec for Plaintiff's acid reflux (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 19; Ex. 2 at pp. 98-101). Fenoglio also prescribed Plaintiff Tylenol for pain as Plaintiff refused to take his other prescribed medication ( Id. ). On August 6, 2012, Fenoglio realized his error in categorizing Plaintiff's hump in the records and changed the term from Hampton to Buffalo to reflect the correct diagnosis (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 20; Ex. 2 at pp. 102-103).
Fenoglio then saw Plaintiff on August 16, 2012 and noted that the hump appeared to be smaller (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 21). Fenolgio noted that the hump was non-tender and that he believed his current condition was anxiety and that he was anxious about the hump on his neck (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at pp. 105-107). At that time, Fenoglio prescribed more Prilosec and more Ibuprofen. Fenoglio saw Plaintiff against on August 20, 2012 and again noted that the lump appeared to be smaller (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at pp. 21-22). At that time, Plaintiff was prescribed naproxen instead of Ibuprofen. He also encouraged Plaintiff to relax and reduce worrying as stress intensifies anxiety (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at p. 112). On August 21, 2012, Fenoglio consulted with his colleagues to determine whether Plaintiff should be sent to an endocrinologist and sought to determine from commissary records whether Plaintiff was still purchasing steroid cream (Doc. 82 Ex. 3 at p. 22; Ex. 2 at pp. 108-113). Fenoglio left Wexford Health Sources on October 1, 2012 (Doc. 82 Ex. 2 at p. 117).
Also on August 20, 2012, Defendant Phil Martin attended the appointment with Plaintiff and Fenoglio (Doc. 85 Ex. B at pp. 17-18). Plaintiff had previously written grievances to Martin regarding Fenoglio's treatment, particularly regarding Fenoglio not addressing all of Plaintiff's complaints (Doc. 85 Ex. B at pp. 6-7). Martin appeared with Plaintiff at the appointment to serve as an advocate and to make sure that Plaintiff was seen by Fenoglio for all of his complaints, but he could not tell Fenolgio how to treat Plaintiff ( Id. at pp. 17-18, 19). Martin was the Healthcare Unit Administrator at Lawrence Correctional Center ( Id. at pp. 15-16). While Martin has training as a nurse, he did not provide medical treatment to Plaintiff ( Id. at pp. 12-14, 16). His job as administrator was to make sure that the contracted medical supplier, Wexford, met their contract requirements, which included making sure Wexford had all of their medical personnel at the prison, making sure they had supplies, making sure they had all the services that are rendered, and that they complied with the rules and regulations ( Id. at p. 16, 21). He could not direct a doctor in how to treat a patient ( Id. at p. 20). Plaintiff submitted grievances regarding Fenoglio's treatment to Martin who would direct them to Fenoglio for an answer about his treatment ( Id. at p. 7). Martin could not make the decisions on the adequacy of treatment received because he does not treat inmates and cannot judge whether a nurse or doctor treated a patient adequately ( Id. at p. 9). Thus, those grievances would be directed to the physicians themselves. Martin also would answer grievances that could be answered by reviewing Plaintiff's medical chart ( Id. at p. 7). Martin also reviewed Plaintiff's records regarding Plaintiff's hump and after reviewing the dictionary about Hampton's hump, and discussing the term with Fenoglio, it was determined that Fenoglio meant to label Plaintiff's hump as a Buffalo hump rather than Hampton's hump ( Id. at p. 33).
III. Conclusions of Law
Summary Judgment is proper only "if the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Dynegy Mktg. & Trade v. Multi Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011)> (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a)). See also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating-based on the pleadings, affidavits, ...