United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Herndon United States District Judge.
currently incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center
("Shawnee"), has brought this pro se civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical condition. This case is now before the Court
for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 "no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit"
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face
"when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is
obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see
Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some
factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that
they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiffs claim.
Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).
Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate
abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or
conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same
time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint
are to be liberally construed. See Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011);
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiffs
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
October 16, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request
because he was suffering from a painful ingrown toenail.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). He subsequently was seen by a nurse, who
referred him to the nurse practitioner. On November 15, 2016,
the nurse practitioner saw that Plaintiffs toe was infected
and discharging a clear liquid mixed with blood. She
prescribed Lamisil, but this did not help the infection or
relieve Plaintiffs pain.
December 6, 2016, Plaintiff submitted another sick call slip,
but was not seen for nearly a month. By the time Plaintiff
saw Dr. David, the nail had become "a deep open
wound" discharging yellowish fluid and blood. The pain
had increased to the point that Plaintiff could not put
weight on his foot, had to walk on the back of his shoe, and
could not wear a sock unless he cut out the toe to relieve
the pressure. Dr. David prescribed Bactrim and foot soaks.
Plaintiff asked Dr. David to remove the ingrown toenail to
relieve his intense pain, but David responded that "they
don't remove ingrown toenails at Shawnee, " and
assured Plaintiff that the medication and foot soaks would
take care of his condition. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
December 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance to
Warden Dennison, complaining that he was not getting proper
treatment. Specifically, Plaintiff was only getting foot
soaks, which were making the problem worse; he was given no
bandages to cover the open wound; Dr. David refused to remove
the ingrown nail; the antibiotics had not cured the infection
and the toe continued to bleed non-stop; and his toe was
black and purple. (Doc. 1, p. 6; Doc. 1-1, pp. 5-8). Dennison
never responded to Plaintiffs emergency grievance.
January 6, 2017, Plaintiff saw the nurse practitioner again
because the infection was worse. His toe would "pour
blood" if it was moved the wrong way, and had turned
dark purple. She referred Plaintiff to Dr. David, who saw him
on January 11, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Dr. David prescribed
Cipro and more foot soaks. However, he failed to issue
Plaintiff a low-bunk or low-gallery permit even though
Plaintiff stated he was missing meals because of the pain
from walking up the stairs, and suffered great pain each time
he had to climb up or down from the top bunk. (Doc. 1, pp.
6-7). Dr. David again refused to remove the ingrown toenail,
saying it would heal itself.
February 3, 2017, Plaintiff sought help again due to the
ongoing or recurring infection; the toe was still dark purple
and draining fluid and blood. The nurse practitioner
prescribed more Cipro and recommended to Dr. David that the
ingrown nail be cut out. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
March 3, 2017, Plaintiff saw Dr. David again and begged him
to do something to relieve the unbearable pain that was
keeping Plaintiff up at night and causing him to be unable to
wear regular shoes and socks. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Dr. David gave
Plaintiff a permit to wear shower shoes, but again refused to
cut out the problem toenail.
April 4, 2017, at Plaintiffs next visit to Dr. David, the
infected toe had not improved and the wound was still open.
When Dr. David proposed to continue the same treatment of
foot soaks, Plaintiff broke down in tears and begged him to
have the toenail removed, because he had been in pain since
late October and could not take it anymore. The foot soaks
had just made the problem worse, and Plaintiff could not walk
properly, had missed meals, and could not engage in normal
activities. Dr. David agreed to recommend that the toenail be
removed, but could not guarantee this procedure would be
approved. Dr. David did not respond to Plaintiffs inquiry as
to why he had not taken this step months ago. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
April 12, 2017, Plaintiff was sent to an outside physician,
who performed surgery ...