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Warren v. Lindorff

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

May 17, 2017




         This cause is before the Court for merit review of the Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

         Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, claims Defendants Health Care Administrator Lois Lindorff, Dr. Kul Sood, and Wexford Health Source, Inc. violated his constitutional rights at Hill Correctional Center. Plaintiff says the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition when delayed or denied medical care for a painful lump in his thyroid gland. Plaintiff's complaint includes 41 pages of exhibits which the Court will also consider in its review. (Comp., p. 12-53). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c)(“A copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all purposes.”); see also Mustache v. Johnson, 2009 WL 1683207, at *2 (E.D.Wis. June 16, 2009)(attachments are properly considered in screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.1915A); Rice v. Hathaway, 2008 WL 2789317, at *1 (S.D.Ill. July 18, 2008)(“For purposes of this § 1915A review, the ‘complaint' consists of both the original complaint and the first amended complaint plus all attachments and exhibits thereto.”).

         Plaintiff says the lump was first discovered at Jacksonville Correctional Center in 2016 during a routine examination. Based on the subsequent pleadings and exhibits, it appears this date is inaccurate. For instance, in response to Plaintiff's grievance, the grievance officer maintains Plaintiff was at Jacksonville Correctional Center from March of 2010 to January of 2014. (Comp., p. 17). Nonetheless, Plaintiff says he “was sent to an outside hospital for an MRI which came back negative for cancer.” (Comp., p. 3). An unnamed doctor told Plaintiff the mass could still become cancerous and therefore he should have regular checks every 30 days. Plaintiff was then released from incarceration, but he later returned to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

         Plaintiff says during this second incarceration, he was first housed at Western Illinois Correctional Center where he received a monthly check of his thyroid including blood work. An ultrasound was also performed, but Plaintiff was transferred before receiving the results.

         Plaintiff says he arrived at Hill Correctional Center on July 22, 2016. (Comp, p. 4). The IDOC response to Plaintiff's grievance notes Plaintiff was at Western Illinois Correctional Center from December of 2014 to July of 2015, and he transferred to Hill Correctional Center on July 22, 2015. (Comp., p. 17). Based on Plaintiff's subsequent pleading, it appears these dates are correct.

         Plaintiff informed the intake nurse at Hill Correctional Center of his condition and he asked to speak with a doctor. Plaintiff says it took some time, but eventually he met with Dr. Sood. The doctor examined his glands and told Plaintiff “if it was him, he would not worry about it.” (Comp., p. 4). Plaintiff says the doctor showed a reckless disregard for his condition.

         On December 22, 2015, Plaintiff noticed his gland had increased in size and he felt pain when he swallowed. Plaintiff says he sent several requests to the Health Care Unit for assistance, but received no response.

         On February 20, 2016, Plaintiff met with a nurse during sick call. The nurse examined Plaintiff, provided Ibuprofen, and scheduled Plaintiff to see the doctor. Plaintiff was advised to return to the Health Care Unit if his condition worsened. Plaintiff claims the pain medication ran out before he saw the doctor leaving him to suffer in pain.

         The medical record confirms Plaintiff's visit and his report of pain as a four on a one-to-ten scale. (Comp, p. 25). Plaintiff further reported the problem started approximately one month prior. The Plaintiff has also provided copies of the prescriptions confirming he was provided Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. (Comp, p. 19). However, there is subsequent notation in the medical record indicating a “no show” for the next evaluation of Plaintiff's thyroid on February 22, 2016. (Comp., p. 26). Plaintiff's medication expired on February 25, 2016. (Comp., p. 17).

         Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance and the Warden approved emergency review. Plaintiff returned to the Health Care Unit on March 1, 2016, and again met with a nurse. She observed Plaintiff's gland was swollen and also noted irregularities on his tongue and inside his right nostril. She ordered additional medication, an ultrasound, and referral to a dentist for some of Plaintiff's symptoms.

         The attached medical records also confirm the nurse's March 1, 2016 examination as well as the ordered medication and testing. (Comp., p. 17, 19. 20, 21, 27-28). In addition, Plaintiff had received previous lab testing regarding his thyroid while at Hill Correctional Center with results in normal limits. (Comp., p. 17). However, the body of Plaintiff's complaint does not mention the previous lab tests or when they occurred.

         Plaintiff admits Hill Correctional Center staff sent him to an outside hospital for a thyroid ultrasound, but he does not state in the body of his complaint when it occurred or what results he received. (Comp., p. 6). Nonetheless, Plaintiff has attached a copy of ultrasound report which notes it took place on March 15, 2016. (Comp., p. 31). The report states a suspicious mass was detected and a biopsy was recommended. (Comp., p. 31). The body of Plaintiff's complaint again provides no further information about a biopsy, but his exhibits confirm the biopsy was performed at an outside hospital on April 13, 2016. (Comp., p. 32-33).

         Plaintiff next alleges he next saw Dr. Sood on April 20, 2016. The doctor stated he was going to schedule additional follow-up visits concerning Plaintiff's thyroid every six months, instead of every thirty days.[1] Plaintiff said he was still suffering with pain, but he admits the doctor prescribed pain medication. (Comp., p. 8). The April 20, 2016 visit is the last incident alleged in Plaintiff's complaint, and he provides no further information in the body of his complaint. However, the medical record indicates the biopsy ...

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