United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
R. Herndon United States District Judge.
Patrick Gordon, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Vienna Correctional Center (“Vienna”), brings
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Vienna.
(Doc. 1). According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was denied
treatment for an ear infection from March 13, 2016 until
January 24, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-14). He was not referred to
an ear, nose, and throat specialist until eight months after
his diagnosis. Id. As a result of this delay,
Plaintiff endured unnecessary pain and suffered permanent
hearing loss. Id. He now requires the use of hearing
names the following defendants in connection with his federal
and state claims for the denial of adequate medical care and
mishandling of his grievances: Warden Campanella, Assistant
Warden Luce, Health Care Administrator George, Doctor
Apostol, Counselor Buckmeier, Major Campbell, Lieutenant
Parish, ADA Coordinator Vineyard, Unknown Party/Utilization
Management, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (Doc. 1, pp.
1-3). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief
against the defendants. (Doc. 1, pp. 14-19).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if
feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after
docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner
seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall
identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any
portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable
person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209
F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
2009). The Complaint survives preliminary review under this
to the Complaint, Plaintiff suffered from an untreated,
diagnosed ear infection for eight months at Vienna. (Doc. 1,
pp. 6-13). During this same time period, he made thirty-seven
visits to the prison's health care unit
(“HCU”). (Doc. 1, p. 15). He was repeatedly
prescribed eye drops for the ear infection. (Doc. 1, pp.
6-13). Plaintiff's symptoms grew worse. Id. When
he was finally referred to a specialist, Plaintiff learned
that he suffered permanent hearing loss in his left ear and
required a hearing aid for his right ear. Id. He now
claims that the defendants were negligent in their treatment
of him and responded to his serious medical needs with
deliberate indifference. (Doc. 1, p. 18).
provides the following timeline of events in support of his
December 30, 2015: Plaintiff visited the HCU with complaints
of left ear and neck pain, bad headaches, and shortness of
breath. He was told that his condition was “nothing
serious.” (Doc. 1, p. 6).
February 25, 2016: Plaintiff went to the HCU again with
complaints of pain in his left ear and the left side of his
head. He was reminded that he was only in the HCU for an
appointment with the eye doctor and told to flush his ear
with warm soapy water and to take an aspirin. Id.
March 31, 2016: After speaking directly with Lieutenant
Parish and Assistant Warden Luce about his health concerns,
Plaintiff awoke to find blood and puss all over his pillow
and shirt. Doctor Apostol diagnosed Plaintiff with an ear
infection the same day and prescribed him eye drops for the
ear infection. Id.
April 9, 2016: Plaintiff sent three requests to see Doctor
Apostol after the eye drops made his left ear worse.
April 27, 2016: Plaintiff met with a nurse in the HCU, who
claimed that she only received one of the three sick call
slips that he submitted. After requiring Plaintiff to pay a
third co-pay for the visit, the nurse looked into his
left ear and diagnosed him with a perforated ear drum. She
gave Plaintiff acetaminophen (325 mg) and referred him to the
doctor. Plaintiff filed a grievance to complain about the
“medical neglect” and the nurse's “bad
attitude.” (Doc. 1, p. 7).
April 28, 2016: Plaintiff met with Doctor Apostol and
complained of pain in his ear and neck that radiated into his
left eye and caused throbbing headaches. Instead of examining
Plaintiff, the doctor prescribed him more eye drops,
Claritin, and ibuprofen. Plaintiff received no antibiotics.
May 10, 2016: After blood was drawn from Plaintiff for
“no reason, ” he spoke with Warden Campanella
about his ear infection. The warden indicated that she was
going to speak with Administrator George. In addition,
Plaintiff wrote “several times” to ADA
Coordinator Vineyard. Id.
May 17, 2016: A collegial review of Doctor Apostol's
recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of Plaintiff was
commenced. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
June 1, 2016: Plaintiff directed multiple written requests
for treatment and grievances regarding the lack thereof to
George, Vineyard, Campanella, Luce, Buckmeier, Parish, and
June 7, 2016: Plaintiff filed another grievance indicating
that he was misdiagnosed with an ear infection when his
condition was far more serious. Id.
June 17, 2016: After Plaintiff described his symptoms of
hearing loss and significant pain to a nurse at sick call,
she indicated that something was “seriously
wrong.” The nurse then observed gray and red
inflammation when examining Plaintiff's left ear.
June 21, 2016: Plaintiff spoke with Doctor Apostol on the
call line. The doctor told Plaintiff that he was still
waiting for the results of the collegial review. Id.
June 27, 2016: Doctor Apostol attempted to conduct a hearing
test on Plaintiff but did not know how to use the equipment.
When he asked a nurse for help, she refused to assist the
doctor and walked away “with an attitude.” Doctor
Apostol indicated that Plaintiff failed his hearing test in
both ears. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9).
June 28, 2016: Plaintiff spoke with Counselor Buckmeier about
his medical issues and was told to file a grievance. When
Plaintiff explained that he had filed many grievances, the
counselor said he received none of them. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
July 9 or 10, 2016: Plaintiff spoke with Warden Campanella
about his miscellaneous issues, including his ear infection,
stomach issues, staff conduct, and grievances. Rather than
addressing his complaints, the warden asked ...