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Gray v. Downen

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 19, 2015

DARREN GRAY, # M-14568, Plaintiff,


STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Vienna Correctional Center ("Vienna"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. His claims arose during his confinement at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). Plaintiff is serving an eight-year sentence for burglary. His complaint focuses on the inadequacy of medical treatment rendered by several Lawrence physicians and medical providers, as well as other prison officials, who he claims were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical conditions.

The following summary of facts is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint, as well as from his 109 pages of exhibits, to which he refers frequently in his pleading.

Plaintiff's first ailment developed while he was working at his prison job in the laundry room, in September and October 2012 (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). After drying and folding clothes and mops, Plaintiff cleaned out the dryers' lint traps each day. He developed a painful cough in October 2012, which he treated by taking cough drops, cold tablets, and drinking tea.

When the cough got worse, Plaintiff told his supervisor, Defendant Walker, that he had put in many sick call requests but had not been called for an appointment (Exhibit 2, Doc. 1-1, pp. 2-3). Defendant Walker submitted a sick call request for Plaintiff, and he saw the nurse and received medication (CTM for the cough and acetaminophen for pain) on January 11, 2013. The next day, Defendant Dr. Talbot diagnosed Plaintiff with an allergic reaction to lint and dirt which had built up in his lungs. He prescribed Claritin and Zantac, and issued Plaintiff a permit to wear a face mask in the laundry room for three days (Exhibit 4, Doc. 1-1, p. 10). Plaintiff never received the mask. He claims that Defendant Walker should have provided him with a face mask (Doc. 1, p. 11). He wrote a grievance on January 24, 2013, complaining about the slow responses to his requests for treatment, and that he was not getting better despite taking six different prescribed medications (Exhibit 7, Doc. 1-1, pp. 19-20). Plaintiff was allowed to quit his laundry job by February 3, 2013 (Doc. 1-1, p. 21).

Plaintiff saw a nurse several times for his persistent cough, on February 20, April 16, June 17, August 2, September 11, November 2, [1] and December 24, 2013. He was given CTM and acetaminophen at some of these visits (Doc. 1, pp. 7-10). He does not identify the nurse(s) by name.

Plaintiff saw a new doctor on March 2, 2013, but he does not identify this individual (Doc. 1-1, p. 29; Exhibit 29, Doc. 1-2, p. 7). His records show that he was prescribed Protonix for GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) at that time (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). Blood and urine tests were performed on March 5 and 22, 2013, and Plaintiff had x-rays on March 6. On March 20, 2013, he was given simvastatin after the doctor diagnosed him with high cholesterol (Doc. 1-1, p. 38).

He was informed on June 17, 2013, that the March 22 test was positive for H. Pylori. Plaintiff underwent treatment for that bacterial infection beginning late June 2013. He asserts that the medications he took for the persistent cough caused him to catch the H. Pylori infection.

On August 2, 2013, Plaintiff developed sharp abdominal pain and was seen at health care. On September 16, 2013, he saw Defendant Dr. Coe for indigestion and Hyperlipidemia (excess fat or lipids in the blood, according to Plaintiff) (Doc. 1, p. 9; Doc. 1-2, pp. 4, 7). He was diagnosed on that date with gastritis; the Protonix was discontinued and he was prescribed Zantac (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). On September 26, 2013, he had a negative stool test for H. pylori (Doc. 1, p. 9, Doc. 1-2, p. 7). His records show that at a follow-up visit on October 4, 2013, Zantac was discontinued and he was prescribed Famotidine (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). On November 2, he returned to health care with abdominal pain. He saw a doctor again (it is not clear which one) on November 8, 2013, who diagnosed him with GERD with Reflux Bronchitis. He was then put back on Protonix, as well as Reglan (Doc. 1, p. 10; Doc. 1-2, pp. 4, 7).

Plaintiff apparently continued to receive prescribed medications for gastritis and/or GERD. His records reflect that he was "seen on Chronic Illness Clinic" on March 14, 2014, diagnosed with gastritis and constipation, and prescribed Carafate, Pepcid, Bisacodyl, and Milk of Magnesia (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). In July 2014, he complained that his medications were not timely refilled, and were delayed for two months (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff saw Defendant Dr. Coe on September 18, 2014, because he was still having the same abdominal symptoms after more than a year. This visit is recorded as another "Chronic Illness Clinic" appointment, at which he was continued on the same medications (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). Defendant Coe ordered lab tests to see whether the H. pylori infection had returned.

On October 8, 2014, Plaintiff declared in a grievance that he would start refusing all medications until he obtained a special diet and proper treatment, because he had been given expired and ineffective medicine (Doc. 1, p. 11; Exhibit 39, Doc. 1-2, p. 28). His complaint states that Defendants Hardy, Butalid, Talbot, and Coe had given him 17 different medications over a 21-month period, with no improvement. In June 2013, Defendant Coe and Defendant Hardy prescribed duplicate doses of aspirin; Plaintiff suggests that this has placed him at risk for developing an ulcer.

He alleges that Defendant Martin, as the Health Care Unit Administrator, failed to ensure that Plaintiff received proper medical treatment (Doc. 1, p. 12). Defendants Strubhart, Henton, and Downen (grievance officers), prevented Plaintiff from receiving proper medical care when they denied his grievances over his treatment. Id.

As of the date he submitted his complaint (December 10, 2014), Plaintiff still suffered from the same cough he had developed in October 2012, as well as from the stomach/abdominal pain that began in January 2013. He notes that he is not currently taking any medications or receiving any treatment for these complaints (Doc. 1, p. 13). He seeks injunctive relief against Defendants Martin and Coe, ordering ...

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