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Luna v. Sheppard

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 10, 2014

JAVIER LUNA, #M04122, Plaintiff,



Now pending before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Dr. John Shepherd, Dr. Jill Wahl, Dr. Richard Shute, Nurse Mary Beth Lane, and Nurse Marsha Hill on January 21, 2014 (Doc. 81).[1] For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.


Plaintiff, Javier Luna, an inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, filed suit on September 29, 2011, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, concerning medical care he received from Defendants beginning in October 2009. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his acid reflux disease and two hernias located in his esophagus and stomach, which caused great pain, interrupted sleep, and rendered him unable to engage in recreational activities. Defendants moved for summary judgment on January 21, 2014 (Doc. 81). Plaintiff, through counsel, responded on April 25, 2014 (Doc. 87), and Defendants filed a timely reply (Doc. 88).


The undisputed evidence reveals that Plaintiff began suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease ("GERD"), [2] antral diverticulum, [3] and a hiatal hernia[4] in September 2009 (Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts ("DSUF") ¶ 9). These conditions caused difficulty breathing and swallowing food (DSUF ¶ 10).

Plaintiff first saw Defendant Marsha Hill, a nurse, on October 13, 2009 (DSUF ¶ 11).[5] During that visit, Plaintiff was prescribed 30 Maalox tabs, told to continue taking Alkalak, and directed to maintain a liquid diet for twenty four hours (DSUF ¶ 11). Plaintiff was next seen by Nurse Hill on March 25, 2010, and she noted that he was taking Prilosec; Nurse Hill gave him Maalox to take with meals and again instructed him to maintain a liquid diet for twenty four hours (DSUF ¶ 12). Nurse Hill's next encounter with Plaintiff was on April 8, 2010, when she attempted to see Plaintiff, but he refused the sick call (DSUF ¶ 13).

Plaintiff was first seen by Defendant Jill Wahl, a physician, on June 1, 2010. Dr. Wahl examined Plaintiff (he complained of breathing difficulty and a sore throat), noted that he was taking Prilosec for GERD, and prescribed an antihistamine for his respiratory issues (DSUF ¶ 15). Dr. Wahl again saw Plaintiff on July 8, 2010. At that time, Plaintiff indicated that (1) he had lost ten pounds in the last year, (2) he continued to have abdominal pain even though he was taking Prilosec, (3) he only experienced temporary relief when he took Pepto-Bismol, and (4) he felt like food was getting stuck in his throat (DSUF ¶ 16). Dr. Wahl prescribed Mylanta and sought a GI consult ( Id. ). Upon discussing Plaintiff's condition with other physicians, which Defendants term "Collegial Review, " it was determined that an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) would be performed on Plaintiff (DSUF ¶ 17-18). Upon seeing Plaintiff again on August 5, 2010, Dr. Wahl prescribed Prilosec and Zantac because Plaintiff reported that it was "his best regimen of medication" (DSUF ¶ 20).

The EGD was performed on August 19, 2010, by Dr. Thomas of Touchette/Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital. This test revealed that Plaintiff had "distal nonerosive esophagitis, inflammation of the esophagus, a hiatal hernia and antral diverticulum" (DSUF ¶ 21). As a result, Dr. Wahl "ordered a comprehensive metabolic panel and requested motility testing" ( Id. ).[6] Another Collegial Review was performed on August 23, 2010, in which it was determined that increasing Plaintiff's Prilosec dose, as suggested by Dr. Thomas, would not be beneficial because Plaintiff had been prescribed the same from May 2010 to August 2010 without success; the Collegial Review also determined that Plaintiff should be prescribed Reglan, which would be prescribed if a motility study was done and "was positive for delayed transit" (DSUF ¶ 22).

Plaintiff first saw Defendant Mary Beth Lane, a nurse, on August 26, 2010. During this visit, Plaintiff complained of his stomach feeling full (DSUF ¶ 24). Nurse Lane examined him and found that his abdomen was not distended. Plaintiff denied constipation. Nurse Lane told Plaintiff to increase his fluid intake and follow up with the healthcare unit as needed ( Id. ).

On September 2, 2010, Dr. Wahl prescribed Reglan, as agreed upon at the Collegial Review on August 23, 2010, and told Plaintiff to eat small, frequent meals (DSUF ¶ 25). A few weeks later, on September 18, 2010, Plaintiff was again seen by Nurse Hill in conjunction with Dr. Fahim (who is not a party to this suit), and an x-ray was ordered to rule out kidney stones (DSUF ¶ 26). The x-ray was conducted on September 21, 2010, and revealed no significant findings (DSUF ¶ 27).

Plaintiff first saw Dr. John Shepherd, a physician, on October 31, 2010. At that time, Plaintiff complained of lower abdominal pain, especially during urination (DSUF ¶ 29). Dr. Shepherd examined Plaintiff, reviewed his EGD, and found no urinary abnormalities. He prescribed Prilosec and ordered a urinalysis (which was negative) ( Id. ). Dr. Shepherd saw Plaintiff again on November 1, 2010, with the same complaints along with excessive gas; Dr. Shepherd prescribed antibiotics and Mylicon-80 to relieve excessive gas (DSUF ¶ 30). Plaintiff last saw Dr. Shepherd on November 19, 2010. At that visit, Plaintiff complained of excessive gas and abdominal pain, but said his symptoms had improved. Dr. Shepherd continued Plaintiff's Prilosec prescription (DSUF ¶ 31).

Plaintiff then began seeing Defendant Richard Shute, also a physician, beginning on December 8, 2010. Plaintiff reported that Prilosec was not providing relief, and Dr. Shute discontinued that medication in favor of Reglan (DSUF ¶ 32). Next, Plaintiff saw Nurse Hill on March 26, 2011; he was instructed on a proper diet and directed to drink plenty of fluids and to take antacid tablets. When Plaintiff again was seen by Nurse Hill on March 28, 2011, she referred him to a doctor to evaluate his symptoms (DSUF ¶ 34-35). Dr. Shute accordingly saw Plaintiff on March 29, 2011; Dr. Shute discontinued Reglan and prescribed Pepcid (DSUF ¶ 36).

The last defendant to see Plaintiff was Nurse Hill, on April 11, 2011, and June 7, 2013. She referred him to a doctor and saw him in conjunction with Dr. Shah (who is not a defendant in this lawsuit). There is no evidence in the record that any doctor, to the ...

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