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Garfield v. Furlong

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 23, 2014

JOHN GARFIELD, # N-72615, Plaintiff,


MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff John Garfield, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac"), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). According to the complaint, Plaintiff was denied adequate dental care during his incarceration at Big Muddy River Correctional Center ("Big Muddy CC") in 2012-13. Plaintiff now sues nine defendants in connection with this alleged deprivation of his Eighth Amendment rights. He seeks declaratory judgment, monetary damages, and injunctive relief (Doc. 1, pp. 21-23).

The Complaint

While incarcerated at Big Muddy CC, Plaintiff lost a filling in his #2 tooth and cracked one of his lower right teeth (Doc. 1, p. 6). In October or November 2012, he submitted a written request for a new filling in the #2 tooth and extraction of the cracked tooth. At the time, he was suffering from "extrem[e] and excruciating pain" (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Big Muddy CC's dentist, Defendant Furlong, was convinced that both teeth should be extracted[1] (Doc. 1, p. 7). On January 31, 2013, he attempted to extract the #2 tooth. However, he was unable to complete the procedure successfully and returned Plaintiff to his cell in excruciating pain. Defendant Furlong again attempted to complete the procedure on February 7th and, this time, broke the #2 tooth off in Plaintiff's sinus "canal." Rather than send Plaintiff to an oral surgeon on an emergency medical writ, however, Defendant Furlong returned Plaintiff to his cell in more pain than ever (Doc. 1, p. 8).

Defendant Furlong again attempted to complete the tooth extraction on February 27th and March 4th, each time without success. On March 4th, Defendant Furlong finally agreed to refer Plaintiff to an outside oral surgeon, Defendant Swanson. Plaintiff was forced to endure another thirty days of excruciating pain before his appointment with the surgeon.

On April 4th, Defendant Swanson examined Plaintiff's #2 tooth (Doc. 1, p. 9). He concluded that Plaintiff needed "major surgery soon, " but it could not be performed at Defendant Swanson's surgery center. Defendant Swanson instead performed surgery on Plaintiff at Effingham Surgery Center on April 10th (Doc. 1, p. 10). The procedure was supposed to take ninety minutes but instead took 5½ hours. No one would tell Plaintiff why.

On April 17th, Plaintiff was placed in segregation, following the issuance of a false disciplinary ticket by Defendant Nelley. Defendant Nelley told Plaintiff that he could do anything he wanted to Plaintiff and get away with it (Doc. 1, p. 10). When Plaintiff requested medical care, it was refused. He was "forced to act out and get 2 more additional disciplinary reports just to receive medical treatment" (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff stopped eating and flooded his cell (Doc. 1, p. 11).

The following day, on April 18th, he met with Defendant Larson, the medical director at Big Muddy CC. At the time, Plaintiff was suffering from extreme pain and excessive bleeding in his mouth (Doc. 1, p. 12). He had a fever, which one of the nurses, Defendant Isaacs, listed as 100 degrees in his medical records when it was actually 103 degrees (Doc. 1, p. 16). Defendant Larson increased Plaintiff's dosage of antibiotics and sent Plaintiff on another emergency medical writ to meet with Defendant Swanson, who cleansed Plaintiff's mouth with "some type of cleaning solution" (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12).

On May 2nd, Plaintiff met with Defendant Larson, who told him that he would soon see Defendant Swanson for a follow-up appointment (Doc. 1, p. 12). No appointment was scheduled. Plaintiff continued suffering from excruciating pain.

On May 18th, the right side roof of Plaintiff's mouth "fell out."[2] This was the same area where Defendant Swanson had performed surgery. Plaintiff advised one of Big Muddy CC's nurses, Defendant Pickering, what had happened, but she took no action. Weeks later, he advised the same nurse that teeth surrounding this area were becoming loose, and she took no action.

Plaintiff sought help from another nurse[3] on May 18th, and she set up an appointment with Defendants Larson and Furlong on May 21st. At the appointment, Defendant Furlong merely shook his head and asked Plaintiff if he had experienced this much bleeding since his surgery; Plaintiff confirmed that he had. On May 28th, Defendant Furlong took x-rays of the area and placed a call to Defendant Swanson; shortly after the examination, the right side roof of Plaintiff's mouth "fell out" once again (Doc. 1, p. 14).

On May 29th Defendant Nelley spoke with Plaintiff about his placement in segregation (Doc. 1, p. 15). He tried to convince Plaintiff to "sign some papers, " with a promise to let Plaintiff out of segregation "like this never happened." Plaintiff declined the offer. Thereafter, he was transferred to Pontiac.

In July or August 2014, Plaintiff met with a medical provider who recommended an appointment with an oral surgeon. As of the date he filed this complaint, ...

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