United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
Ellean Nance, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for the alleged violations of his Eighth
Amendment rights at Stateville Correctional Center from
1995-2004 and Menard Correctional Center from 2009-2015 (Doc.
1, pp. 1-42). Plaintiff alleges that he was denied adequate
medical care for hepatitis B for years. Instead of properly
diagnosing and treating the condition, prison medical staff
prescribed Plaintiff ibuprofen and ignored his abnormal blood
test results and complaints of pain. He maintains that their
ineffective treatment with ibuprofen only exacerbated his
condition, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver and
enlargement of his spleen (id.).
connection with this claim, Plaintiff now sues the following
three known and thirteen unknown defendants: Wexford Health
Sources, Inc. (Wexford), Mrs. Pollion (nurse practitioner),
Mrs. Fruetas (Asian American doctor), Jane Doe #1 (unknown
medical technician), John or Jane Doe ##2-5 and 7-12
(numerous unknown Menard doctors or nurse practitioners),
John Doe #6 (unknown Asian doctor), and John or Jane Doe #13
(numerous unknown Stateville doctors, physician assistants,
or nurse practitioners). He seeks monetary relief
(id. at 42).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section
1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner
complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The complaint
survives preliminary review under this standard.
has been in the custody of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (IDOC) since 1994. According to the complaint, he
received inadequate medical care for hepatitis B at
Stateville from 1995-2004 and at Menard from 2009-15 (Doc. 1,
pp. 1-42). For years, Plaintiff suffered from right-side
stomach pain, discomfort, warmth, and nausea that caused
sleeplessness (id. at 8). He reported these symptoms
to his medical providers at Menard for almost six years
before receiving a formal diagnosis. Instead of properly
diagnosing and treating the condition, Plaintiff was given
pain pills (i.e., ibuprofen) that exacerbated his
symptoms and hastened damage to his liver and spleen. As a
result, Plaintiff now suffers from cirrhosis of the liver, an
enlarged spleen, and a host of purportedly related symptoms.
He blames this denial and/or delay of proper medical care on
Wexford and the medical providers who denied him
adequate medical care at both prisons.
to the complaint, Wexford has collaborated with high-ranking
officials in the State of Illinois to create and implement
uniform standards for the delivery of health care services at
all IDOC facilities (id. at 33). These policies
allegedly elevate cost concerns over the quality of care
provided to state inmates (id.). For example,
Wexford routinely understaffs prison health care units,
leaving key positions unfilled (id. at 35). The
staffing levels are insufficient to meet the needs of the
rising prison population (id. at 35-37). Plaintiff
points to this policy as the reason for the delay in
diagnosis and treatment of his hepatitis.
his incarceration at Stateville from 1995 until 2004,
Plaintiff regularly met with the facility's unknown
doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners
(collectively John or Jane Doe #13) for annual physicals,
asthma check-ups, and scheduled medical clinics (id.
at 32). During this same time period, he underwent blood
tests that revealed abnormal liver function. He alleges that
Doe #13 simply ignored the test results (id. at 5,
transferring to Menard, Plaintiff regularly complained to the
prison's medical staff about right-side stomach pain,
nausea, warmth, and discomfort that caused sleeplessness.
Between 2009 and 2015, he met with two known health care
providers (i.e., Nurse Practitioner Pollion and
Doctor Fruetas) and twelve unknown health care providers
(i.e., Jane Doe #1, John or Jane Doe ##2-5 and 7-12,
and John Doe #6) at various times to discuss his persistent
includes two appointments in November and December 2009 with
an unknown medical technician (Jane Doe #1), who ignored
Plaintiff's requests for a referral to see a doctor
(id. at 9-11). Doe #1 instead responded to
Plaintiff's complaints of pain by providing him with
ibuprofen and antacid pills. Once the medications ran out,
however, his symptoms returned (id.).
2010, Plaintiff received a pass to visit the hypertension and
asthma clinic. While there, he complained to an unknown
doctor or nurse practitioner (John or Jane Doe #2) about
persistent right-side stomach pain, nausea, warmth, and
sleeplessness (id. at 11). He explained that the
symptoms had been present “for months”
(id.). Plaintiff also summarized his history of
treatment with Doe #1 and his history of abnormal blood tests
at Stateville. In response, Doe #2 simply issued Plaintiff
more pain pills (id. at 12). But after the pills ran
out, his symptoms returned.
around August 2010, Plaintiff met with another unknown doctor
or nurse practitioner (John or Jane Doe #3) for his annual
physical (id. at 13). Plaintiff summarized his
medical history for Doe #3 and explained that the pain pills
were ineffective. In response, Doe #3 recommended that
Plaintiff “stop exercising for a while”
(id. at 14).
2010, Plaintiff received another pass to visit the
hypertension and asthma clinic. There, he met with yet
another unknown doctor or nurse (John or Jane Doe #4)
(id. at 14-15). After reviewing his history of
symptoms, abnormal blood tests, and treatment, Plaintiff was
given more pain pills (id. at 15).
2011, Plaintiff received the same response from still another
unknown doctor or nurse (John or Jane Doe #5) at the
hypertension and asthma clinic (id. at 15-17). Doe
#5 simply replenished Plaintiff's supply of pain pills
(id. at 16).
same year, Plaintiff complained of unrelenting symptoms to an
unknown Asian doctor (John Doe #6) (id. at 17). Doe
#6 denied Plaintiff's request for a “colon
examination, ” but examined his stomach. After
reviewing Plaintiff's medical records, the doctor said,
“[Y]ou are congested, it will pass”
(id.). Doe #6 then provided Plaintiff with more pain
relievers and antacid pills.
October 7, 2011, Plaintiff filed a grievance to complain
about the allegedly inadequate medical care he had received
for his ongoing symptoms (id. at 17-18). A counselor
responded to the grievance by indicating that the
“Health Care Unit had seen and address[ed] his medical
problem” (id. at 17). He submitted the
grievance to a grievance officer and received no further
2011, Plaintiff was seen at the hypertension and asthma
clinic by another unknown doctor or nurse practitioner (John
or Jane Doe #7) (id. at 18-19). Plaintiff again
summarized his medical history and explained that he had seen
various medical providers about the same symptoms for a
period of two years (id. at 18). Like the others,
Doe #7 simply supplied Plaintiff with more pain pills
hypertension and asthma clinic that Plaintiff attended in
2012, still another unknown doctor or nurse practitioner
(John or Jane Doe #8) responded to his complaints in the same
manner (id. at 19-20).
annual physical that year yielded the same results. After
Plaintiff summarized his history of unrelenting symptoms and
ineffective treatment that now spanned nearly three years,
the unknown doctor or nurse practitioner (John or Jane Doe
#9) “just gave him some pain pills” (id.
at 20-22). Doe #9 added, “[I]t's nothing[.] [Y]ou
are congested[;] once you use the stool, you will be
ok” (id. at 21).
received the same response from an unknown doctor or nurse
practitioner (John or Jane Doe #10) at the hypertension and
asthma clinic ...