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Leslte Peace v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 11, 2014

LESLTE PEACE (A-81126), Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., DR. IMHOTEP CARTER, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

CHARLES R. NORGLE, Senior District Judge.

Leslie Peace (hereinafter, "Peace" or Plaintiff"), an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center (hereinafter, "Stateville"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Peace contends the Defendant, Dr. Imhotep Carter (hereinafter, "Dr. Carter"), who formerly worked as a physician at Stateville, violated his constitutional rights due to a delay in procurement of compression stockings. Peace contends that both Dr. Carter and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (hereinafter, "Wexford"), were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition. This matter is before the Court for ruling on Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 43). For the reasons stated in this order, the motion for summary judgment is granted as to both Dr. Carter and Wexford.

I. BACKGROUND

The Court takes the following facts from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 Statements of Material Facts and the supporting evidentiary materials, with any relevant disputes noted.

Peace has been incarcerated since 1994, and at the time of the events alleged in his complaint, was housed at Stateville. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 1.) Dr. Carter was a licensed physician and medical director at Stateville at the time of the events alleged in Peace's complaint. ( Id. at ¶ 2.) Wexford is a medical contractor for the Illinois Department of Corrections and Stateville. ( Id. at ¶ 3.) Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Carter and Wexford deprived him of medical care due to a delay in getting compression stockings ordered by physician assistant Latonya Williams for his varicose veins. ( Id. at ¶ 4.) The compression stockings were ordered by Williams on January 17, 2012. ( Id. ) Peace alleges that Wexford refused to supply him with the compression stockings, and that Dr. Carter did not respond to a letter he sent asking for help in obtaining the stockings. ( Id. ) Peace contends that he went without the stockings from the time they were ordered by Williams in January 2012 until November 2012. ( See Pl.'s Dep., Dkt. No. 46-1, at 39:20-24.)[1]

Peace has had a number of health problems since entering prison, including a ventral hernia that developed as a result of a gunshot wound to the abdomen sustained during his arrest. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶¶ 5, 6.) In addition to varicose veins, Peace has high blood pressure, bleeding hemorrhoids, chest pains, tachycardia, and spinal stenosis. ( Id. at ¶ 6.) During his 20-year incarceration, Peace has been referred off-site for treatment numerous times, including for surgical repair of the hernia, a consultation at the University of Illinois at Chicago ("hereinafter, "UIC") related to blackouts, an MRI of the brain related to spinal stenosis, colonoscopies at UIC, a consultation at St. Joseph's Hospital for chest pains and high blood pressure in 2009, an EMU at UIC in 2010, and a dermatology evaluation by a doctor in Joliet in 2012. ( Id. at ¶ 7.) Peace is suffering from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause numbness and pain. ( Id. at 8.) Peace also has been treated at Stateville for hypertension, chest pain, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal issues, colds, flu, and rosacea. ( Id. at ¶ 9.)

Peace was first provided compression stockings in Stateville in 2009. ( Id. at ¶ 10.) He testified that his compression stockings were taken away by correctional officers in a shakedown and thrown away, although he could not say when this shakedown happened. ( Id. at ¶ 11.) After this, he told physician assistant Williams what happened, and she wrote a prescription for compression hose on January 17, 2012. ( Id. at ¶¶ 12, 13.)

According to a declaration provided by Dr. Carter, based on his review of the medical records, the compression hose were not a necessary medical treatment, but rather were an accommodation to Peace to treat a cosmetic condition. ( Id. at ¶ 14.) Peace disputes this, pointing to a chart copy of the January 17, 2012, prescription order for thigh-high hose. (Pl's. 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 14, see Dkt. No. 52, p. 22.) The chart copy is blank in the space labeled "problem, " and does not indicate what, if any, condition the hose were prescribed to treat. (Dkt. No. 52, p. 22.)

According to a declaration from Joe Ebbitt, director of risk management for Wexford, Wexford has found no business records indicating it received an order for compression hose for Peace in January 2012. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 15.) Peace testified that he never received the compression hose, and that he regularly checked on the status of the order with Don Hennely, the medical supply supervisor at Stateville, who told him the order was never filled. ( Id. at ¶ 16.) Hennely retired, and was replaced as supply supervisor by Joseph Sheehy. ( Id. at ¶ 17.) According to an affidavit by Sheehy, the medical supply supervisor's duties include ordering and supplying durable medical equipment prescribed for inmates at Stateville. ( Id. at ¶ 18.) Sheehy performed a search of the medical supply records at Stateville and found no documentation of orders for compression stockings for Leslie Peace placed prior to April 2012. ( Id. at ¶ 19.) Since becoming the medical supply supervisor in April 2012, Sheehy has ordered compression stockings for Peace on three occasions, on November 9, 2012, May 6, 2013, and May 8, 2014. ( Id. at ¶ 20.)

Peace wrote a letter to Dr. Carter on February 7, 2012, in which he complained that he had not received the compression stockings prescribed by Williams on January 17, 2012. ( Id. at 21.) Peace put the letter in a box for pickup by the cell house medical technician. ( Id. ) He testified that he does not know whether Dr. Carter received the letter. ( Id. ) Dr. Carter, in his declaration, stated that he did not receive the letter. ( Id. at ¶ 22.)

Although Peace disputes some of the details of his treatment, it is undisputed that Dr. Carter treated Peace beginning on August 30, 2011, for conditions including mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, a persistent facial rash, and spinal stenosis. ( Id. at ¶ 23-27.) On February 8, 2012, Dr. Carter renewed a medical permit allowing Peace to have a low bunk and a low gallery, based on his diagnosis of spinal stenosis.[2] ( Id. at ¶ 27.) The last time Dr. Carter examined Peace was April 9, 2012, for a follow-up concerning his rosacea and cervical spinal stenosis. ( Id. at ¶ 28.) Dr. Carter did not see Plaintiff again prior to leaving Stateville in 2012. ( Id. at ¶ 29.)

According to Dr. Carter, at no time during his examination of Peace did Peace have any significant lower extremity edema or any other condition requiring treatment with compression stockings. ( Id. at ¶ 30.) Dr. Carter stated that he did not treat Peace for his varicose veins, which were a cosmetic issue. ( Id. at ¶ 31.) Dr. Carter contends that he deferred to the judgment of other healthcare providers in their treatment of Plaintiffs varicose veins and relied on the medical supply supervisor to order durable medical equipment prescribed for Peace, including the compression stockings. ( Id. at 32.)

The parties agree that Dr. Carter did not treat Plaintiffs varicose veins, but disagree somewhat as to their interactions regarding the compression hose. Dr. Carter says they did not discuss the issue, and Peace agrees that he did not discuss his varicose veins or compression stockings with Dr. Carter, but only because Dr. Carter would not allow him to speak about these issues. ( Id. at ¶ 31; Pl.'s 56.1(b)(3) Statement ¶ 31.) Specifically, Peace contends, "[A]s soon as plaintiff would mention anything to do with the denial of the prescribed ...


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