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Willis v. Wexford Health Sources Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 31, 2017

WAYNE WILLIS, N42118, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., AIMEE LANG and HEATHER McGEE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 55, 58). For the following reasons, the motions are GRANTED.

         Plaintiff Wayne Willis is an inmate with the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”).[1] Willis filed suit on October 2, 2014, alleging that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). He proceeds against three defendants: Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford” - a healthcare contractor that provides medical services to IDOC inmates), Aimee Lang (a medical technician employed by IDOC) and Heather McGee (a nurse employed by IDOC). The Court screened Willis' Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and found that Willis articulated the following claims:

Count 1: Beginning July 27, 2012, and continuing through at least September 13, 2012, Nurse Aimee Lang and Nurse Heather McGee were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff Willis's serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth and Amendment; and
Count 2: Health care provider Wexford Health Sources, Inc., enforced a policy and practice amounting to deliberate indifference to Plaintiff Willis's serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Background

         Sometime in July 2012, Willis began to experience pain along the sides of his abdomen in the kidney area (Doc. 1, p. 6). As a result, he sought treatment from the prison healthcare staff. On July 27, 2012, Willis started sending “kites” or notes requesting that he be placed on sick call for a medical examination at the prison health care unit. Id. When he did not receive, a response, Willis discussed the issue with his gallery officer, Correctional Officer Smith, on August 1, 2012. Id. C/O Smith told Willis that the unit nurse was gone for the day, but that he would pass along a kite. Id. Willis was eventually placed on sick call later in August 2012 (Doc. 1, p. 26). Records indicate that Willis was signed up for sick call on August 21, 2012 and August 23, 2012, but that when Defendant Lang went to his cell house, Willis was unavailable on both dates. Id.

         Willis was finally examined by Nurse McGee at the Menard Health Care Unit on September 12, 2012 (Doc. 76-1, p. 9). During the examination, Willis complained of pain in his right abdominal area, which he had experienced for approximately three weeks. Id. According to McGee's medical notes, Willis was experiencing a pain level of “5 - 7” out of ten. Id. Willis also complained of a cold and at the conclusion of the examination, McGee issued Willis a prescription for chlor-trimeton, an anti-histamine (Doc. 76-1, p. 10). McGee's medical notes also indicate that Willis was to receive acetimenophen, but Willis claims that he never received it (Doc. 59-1, pp. 8-9). Willis was then scheduled for a follow up examination on September 20, 2012 and September 21, 2012 (Doc. 76-1, p. 12). However, he was not seen on those dates because he had recently transferred to a different cell. Id.

         Willis' next appointment took place on September 27, 2012 when Dr. Nwaobasi examined him to follow up on his complaints of abdominal pain (Doc. 76-1, p. 11). Dr. Nwaobasi discontinued Willis' prescription for Pravastin (a drug used to lower cholesterol) and issued a prescription for Motrin. Id. He advised Willis to “watch dietary intake” and scheduled a follow up examination in one month. Id.

         Willis was scheduled for “F/U [follow up] kidney pain” on October 5, 2012. Id. Medical notes from that date state that Willis refused to be seen. However, Willis testified at his deposition that he did not refuse to be seen rather, he was not called (Doc. 59-1, p. 9).

         Willis was next scheduled for examinations on October 23, 2012 and October 25, 2012, but he was not examined on either date (Doc. 76-1, p. 12). On October 23, 2012, “security did not escort due to 5 gallery shakedown, ” and on October 25, 2012, Willis refused to be seen. Id. Willis was examined on November 11, 2012, however it is unclear what took place during the examination because the medical records are illegible. Id.

         According to Willis, he never received a definitive diagnosis as to what has been causing his abdominal pain (Doc. 59-1, p. 10). He continues to experience “a slight loss of mobility due to the abdominal issue, but that the pain is “tolerable.” Id.

         Also according to Willis, Wexford has a policy where an inmate will only be seen by a medical doctor if he was previously seen by a nurse on three prior occasions for the same issue (Doc. 59-1, p. 11). If after three nurse examinations fail to treat the medical problem, the inmate may receive a referral to see a physician. This policy was confirmed by Lang and McGee. Id. Willis also notes that IDOC Menard Treatment Protocols state, “Any offender evaluated for the same complaint three ...


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