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Malik v. Rankin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 30, 2015

ROBERT MALIK, No. K64407, Plaintiff,
v.
MD WILLIAM RANKIN, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Robert Malik, an inmate currently housed in Big Muddy River Correctional Center within this judicial district, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights. He contends he has been denied proper medical care for multiple medical ailments since December 2011, when he entered the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"), and continuing to the present. The allegations pertain to five different prisons. Although the complaint does not specifically seek a temporary injunction, injunctive relief is requested, and a separate motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction was filed along with the complaint (Doc. 2).

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the complaint must undergo preliminary review to ensure that a colorable claim has been stated. That review will occur in due course, but because a temporary injunction is sought, the Court will immediately take up the motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction (Doc. 2).

The Complaint

In order to analyze whether injunctive relief is warranted at this early juncture, the underlying factual allegations will be summarized and certain problems with the complaint must be noted.

Upon conviction and transfer to the custody of the IDOC, Plaintiff was sent to Stateville Correctional Center in the Northern District of Illinois on December 6, 2011. Plaintiff disclosed his medical history, which included having bullet fragments in his right ankle since 2009. He immediately sought medical care for pain, elevated blood pressure, headaches, stomach pain, sweaty palms, an irregular feeling in his bladder, and right ankle pain. Before being afforded any treatment, Plaintiff was transferred to East Moline Correctional Center in the Central District of Illinois.

Upon arrival at East Moline, Plaintiff was sought medical attention for his ailments, particularly his gastrointestinal and ankle issues. A physician opined that Plaintiff was exaggerating his concerns, but noted that Plaintiff could have a hernia or infection. Plaintiff developed severe constipation, hemorrhoids and abdominal pain, and he had blood in his stool, so he sought further treatment in March 2012. After only verbal questioning, the doctor told Plaintiff he would be fine and no treatment was offered. Plaintiff's condition worsened during the following six months, but he was not afforded any treatment; rather, he was repeatedly told he was fine. In mid-September 2012 emergency treatment was sought. Plaintiff's bladder had to be catheterized, and he was diagnosed with a bladder infection. The doctor asked Plaintiff when he was getting out of prison and then prescribed an ineffective medication. Even after filing administrative grievances, Plaintiff did not receive any effective treatment. A nurse described Plaintiff's condition as "chronic" and "serious, " and further opined that the doctor may not have afforded proper treatment.

In February 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to Jacksonville Correctional Center in the Central District of Illinois. Again, he immediately and repeatedly sought effective medical treatment. His mother, brother and sister even began writing and calling prison officials and the corporation that provides medical services for the IDOC-all to no avail. Plaintiff's ailments worsened. His left testicle swelled to the size of tennis ball, and puss began oozing from the scar over the bullet fragments in his ankle. Again, medical personnel asked when Plaintiff would be released from prison, as though that dictated treatment decisions. No efficacious medical treatment was offered. Instead, Plaintiff was evaluated by a psychologist who diagnosed Plaintiff as having an adjustment disorder with anxiety, and could not rule out anxiety somatization (mental illness causing real physical symptoms, often leading to a vicious cycle of concern and dissatisfaction with a lack of medical treatment, and escalating anxiety ( see www.webmd.com/mental-health/somatoform-disorders)).

In December 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to Vandalia Correctional Center in the Southern District of Illinois. Plaintiff sought immediate treatment for his ailments. The physician who initially examined Plaintiff at Vandalia was rude and rushed, and he tossed Plaintiff out of the health care unit. Nevertheless, Plaintiff's ankle was x-rayed two days later. Upon follow-up, the physician said he had spoken with the physician at Jacksonville. Again, Plaintiff was not offered any treatment for his ailments. According to Plaintiff, even correctional officers noticed swelling and discoloration in his ankle, which was not acknowledged by medical personnel.

In January 2014, Plaintiff went on a hunger strike in order to secure proper diagnosis and treatment, and the return of a confiscated electronic device. The warden told Plaintiff to file grievances. The warden also said he would speak to the prison doctor, but thought it was not likely to do any good because "they" did not want to spend any money to treat Plaintiff. Other correctional officers expressed a similar view that Plaintiff would not receive proper medical treatment until he was released from prison. As the hunger strike stretch on, Plaintiff was placed in an isolation cell and shackled to the bed, which only exacerbated Plaintiff's ankle injury. (When the hunger strike ended is unclear).

In February 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to Big Muddy River Correctional Center in the Southern District of Illinois. He immediately sought medical care. The nurse who examined Plaintiff upon intake noted edema and possible infection in Plaintiff's right ankle, caused by the bullet fragments. Plaintiff went unseen by a physician, and the warden walked off when Plaintiff attempted to explain his need for help. A nurse did prescribe ibuprofen, which was ineffective. Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance, but his situation was not considered an emergency and he consequently received a disciplinary report-which he thinks was designed to intimidate him into giving up his quest for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Plaintiff was finally seen by a doctor in March 2014, and blood work was ordered. Plaintiff perceived that the doctor was attempting a cover-up, so he filed a grievance. The doctor failed to see Plaintiff in a week, as promised. Although a nurse explained that the doctor was running behind schedule, Plaintiff filed another grievance. The doctor eventually informed Plaintiff that the blood work was all normal and that there was no infection. Acetaminophen was prescribed, but was ineffective. Another grievance was filed.

In April 2014, over Plaintiff's objection, physical therapy was prescribed for Plaintiff's ankle pain. The therapist thought that massage would impact the golf ball-sized cyst on Plaintiff's ankle, but it only caused pain and opened the scar so that puss was oozing out. Eventually, physical therapy was discontinued and an ultrasound was ordered.

Plaintiff's leg-from the knee to the ankle-was scanned, as well as his groin and testicles. The ultrasound examination did not reveal any problems. Plaintiff ...


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