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Alvarez v. Baker

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

September 23, 2016

ROBERT ALVAREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. TERRANCE P. BAKER, DR. BRENNAN, DR. KEVIN SIMS, DR. SALIM J. DAWALIBI, DR. JUDI LIU, DR. YAN K YU DO, DR. VICTOR PELAEZ, DR. GLEN TRAMMEL, DR. MELANIE-WATSON MONTGOMERY, DR. THOMAS PROSOROVSKY, DR. RANDY RABIN, DRS. JOHN DOE, MIOSHI BRITTMAN, MELVIN JUDKINS, DONNA BROWN, KIM ANDERSON, HIROKO GOODFRIEND, PATRICIA HAYES, CHIDINMA ONYEACHONAM, RAVEN REYNOLDS, KIM ANDERSON, RONALD ROSE, FLORENCE EBERMICHAEL, JUDY PRICE, MANISHA PATEL, OLIVER FRANK, JEANETTE CROFTON, NANCY CHACKUMKAL, GEORGE KROECK, GERALD LOGUE, JACQUELINE JACK, RYSZARD FILIPOWICZ, JOHN and JANE DOES, and COUNTY OF COOK, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HON. JORGE L. ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Robert Alvarez, brings this action against various doctors and health care workers who were responsible for obtaining or providing medical care to plaintiff while he was an inmate of the Cook County Jail (“the Jail”). Plaintiff claims that defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and are liable to him for their deliberate indifference to his need for proper medical treatment after suffering a broken cheek bone while incarcerated in the Jail. Certain of the defendants have moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         The allegations relevant to the defendants' motion to dismiss are as follows. On July 21, 2013, while plaintiff was detained and incarcerated at the Jail, he was attacked and beaten by a group of approximately a dozen other inmates, suffering serious injuries. (4th Am. Compl., ¶¶ 3, 26, ECF No. 47.) He was examined by correctional officers, who observed that his injuries included “severe facial damage” and stab wounds to his back and right leg. (Id., ¶ 27.) Plaintiff told the officers that he was having blackouts and in severe pain, and he asked to be taken to Cook County Cermak Health Services (“Cermak”), the Jail's on-site infirmary. (Id., ¶¶ 32-33.) The officers locked him in a holding cell in Division 1 of the Jail, without providing any medical care. (Id., ¶ 33.) Plaintiff asked for a tissue to blow his nose, which was bleeding profusely, but when he blew his nose, it swelled rapidly. (Id., ¶¶ 33-34.) The swelling spread to his left cheek and left eye, and plaintiff began suffering blackouts. (Id., ¶ 34.)

         Approximately two hours after the beating, plaintiff was taken to Cermak and examined by defendant Dr. Yan K Yo Do. (Id., ¶¶ 36-38.) Plaintiff asked Dr. Yo Do if he could be taken to a hospital for treatment of his serious injuries, which included not only the blackouts, bloody nose, swollen face, and stab wounds, but the displacement of a wire that was in his mouth from a previous injury and had become dislodged. (Id., ¶ 38.) Dr. Yo Do said that he would not consider sending plaintiff to a hospital until after he had a CAT scan, which could not be done until the following day. (Id.) Plaintiff was given ice packs and ibuprofen, but no other medical treatment. (Id.)

         The next day, plaintiff had a CAT scan at Cermak, and he told the technician that he needed to see a doctor because he was in tremendous plain and still suffering blackouts. (Id., ¶ 39.) The technician told him that he could not see a doctor, but he could fill out a “yellow medical form” if he wanted to request an appointment with a doctor. (Id., ¶ 40.)

         After his CAT scan, plaintiff was relocated to a different tier within Division 1 of the Jail. (Id., ¶ 42.) His new tier, tier H1, was composed only of inmates like plaintiff who were over 40 and had no gang affiliation. (Id.) Plaintiff brought his injuries to the attention of the officers overseeing the tier, and these officers made phone calls in an attempt to obtain medical attention for plaintiff, but plaintiff received no further medical attention until August 9, 2013. (Id., ¶ 43.)

         Plaintiff is a diabetic, and during his incarceration in the Jail he made regular, thrice-weekly visits to the dispensary to check his glucose levels. (Id., ¶¶ 21, 44.) During his visits to the dispensary between July 22, 2013 and August 9, 2013, he informed Dr. Kevin Sims and Dr. Baker of his injuries, his pain, and his recurrent blackouts and bloody noses. (Id., ¶ 45.) Dr. Sims and Dr. Baker told Officer Casale and paramedic George Kroeck to provide plaintiff icepacks, but provided no other treatment, despite Officer Casale and Kroeck's attempts to get plaintiff an appointment with a doctor. (Id., ¶¶ 46-47.)

         On August 2, 2013, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Baker. (Id., ¶ 48.) Plaintiff told him that the injuries, pain and blackouts were only getting worse. (Id.) Dr. Baker asked plaintiff if he knew that his cheek bone was broken in four places. (Id., ¶ 49.) Plaintiff responded that he did not. (Id.) Plaintiff asked again to go to a hospital, and Dr. Baker responded that he would make an appointment for plaintiff to go to Stroger Hospital (“Stroger”) the following week. (Id., ¶¶ 50-51.) Dr. Baker told plaintiff that plaintiff clearly required surgery, but because his cheek bone was “still in place, ” it would be “ok . . . to wait.” (Id., ¶ 51.) Plaintiff replied that he was still in a great deal of pain and still suffering blackouts. (Id., ¶ 52.) Dr. Baker responded, as plaintiff paraphrases, “Don't make this hard or you will end up in segregation.” (Id., ¶ 53.)

         On August 7, 2013, Dr. Brennan examined plaintiff at Stroger. (Id., ¶ 56.) She told plaintiff that not only was his cheek bone broken in four places, it was severely displaced from its proper configuration and was healing improperly. (Id., ¶¶ 56-57.) She said that Dr. Baker should not have administered ice packs, which had caused the bone to heal improperly, and plaintiff's cheek bone would have to be re-broken before surgery, which plaintiff needed urgently. (Id., ¶¶ 57-59.) Additionally, plaintiff had a torn blood vessel in his face. (Id., ¶ 57.)

         Dr. Brennan told plaintiff that, as urgent as the need for surgery was, the surgery could not be scheduled immediately because the hospital had to receive approval from a supervisor. (Id., ¶ 60.) Plaintiff had surgery two days later, on August 9, 2016. (Id., ¶ 63.)

         After the surgery, plaintiff did not receive the medication he needed for his diabetes or his recovery from surgery. (Id., ¶¶ 63-69.) He did not receive any pain medication of any kind for several days, despite making numerous complaints and submitting several “yellow forms.” (Id., ¶ 71.) The nursing staff told him that it takes two or three days for prescribed medication to reach Division 10 of the Jail, where he was now housed. (Id.) On August 14, 2013, plaintiff was told that the pain medication Dr. Brennan had prescribed had expired. (Id.)

         For some time after the surgery, plaintiff received only acetaminophen, not the medication Dr. Brennan had prescribed. (Id., ¶ 72.) He would periodically have to go for long periods of time without any pain medication at all. (Id., ¶¶ 72-73.) When the Ear, Nose and Throat (“ENT”) unit at Stroger prescribed pain medication, it would take two to three days to reach him at Division 10, if he received it at all. (Id., ¶ 72.) It was only in March 2014 that he finally received a relatively regular supply of Naproxen to treat his pain. (Id., ¶ 73.)

         On October 21, 2013, plaintiff had a scheduled appointment at Stroger, but Jail staff failed to transport him from the Jail to the hospital, without giving any reason, and plaintiff ...


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