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Thompson v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 18, 2017

MICHAEL THOMPSON, No. B-81126, Plaintiff,


          J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Michael Thompson, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff contends officials at Menard were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition (Crohn's disease). In connection with these claims, Plaintiff Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Doctor Ritz, Doctor Feinerman, Doctor Shepherd, Doctor Fahim, Doctor Shearing, and Doctor Trost. Plaintiff sues all defendants in their individual and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(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 such relief.

         An 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 standard.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff arrived at Menard in November 2008. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Plaintiff informed medical staff that he suffered from Crohn's disease and that he took medication for the same. Id. Plaintiff explained that one of his medications, Remicade, was critical for controlling the flare-ups associated with his condition and prevented his disease from escalating. Id. Medical staff elected not to prescribe Remicade. Id. Instead, Plaintiff was treated with a less effective medication. Id. The selected treatment barely addressed Plaintiff's pain and never alleviated the symptoms of his condition. Over the next eight years, medical staff ignored Plaintiff's medical needs associated with his condition and continued to provide only ineffective treatment options. (Doc. 1, pp. 2-3).

         The inadequate medical care exacerbated Plaintiff's symptoms and escalated the disease. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Specifically, Plaintiff states the severity of the following symptoms increased: (1) bloating, (2) stomach cramps/spasms, (3) vomiting, (4) body aches, (5) hot and cold sweats, (6) loss of sleep, (7) loss of appetite, and (8) severe weight loss (from 190 to 135 lbs). Id. Plaintiff contends the ineffective treatment was the equivalent of providing no medical care whatsoever. (Doc. 1, pp. 2-3).

         In 2015, Plaintiff stayed in the infirmary at Menard's Healthcare Unit (“HCU”) on two occasions and was hospitalized at outside facilities on two occasions for severe flare-ups (Chester Hospital and Carbondale Hospital). (Doc. 1, p. 3). Specialists at Carbondale hospital indicated that Plaintiff's condition was severe and recommended specific follow-up treatment, including surgery. Id. The specialists specifically advised that Plaintiff's condition had deteriorated so much, further treatment would be ineffective and surgery was the only option. Id. Dr. Trost ignored the recommendations, took no action, and refused to appeal the Collegial Review Board's denial of Plaintiff's request for surgical treatment.

         On April 19, 2016, Plaintiff was taken to an outside hospital for an emergency surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 3). A significant portion of Plaintiff's large intestine was removed during the surgery. Id. This led to a bladder infection that caused waste to be excreted through Plaintiff's urethra. Id. Following the April 2016 surgery, Plaintiff was ...

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