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Turner v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 10, 2017



          Michael J. Reagan Chief Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Lampton J. Turner, an inmate in Centralia Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests declarative relief, injunctive relief, and compensatory and punitive damages. 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that he tripped and fell while returning from mail call on June 27, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 3). The fall injured both hands and his wrist. Id. Plaintiff was seen by Garcia, who he alleges was wearing Santos' lab coat, a month later on July 27, 2016. Id. Plaintiff complained of numbing, tingling, aching, and swelling in his wrists and hands, and Garcia diagnosed him with inflammation and prescribed Prednisone (a steroid) and Robaxin (a muscle relaxer). Id. Plaintiff followed up with Garcia on October 26, 2016, complaining of the same pain. Id. Garcia renewed his prescriptions. Id.

         Plaintiff put in a sick call slip on November 2, 2016 after not receiving refills. Id. The health care unit required Plaintiff to pay a co-pay and Plaintiff refused and filed a grievance. Id.

         Plaintiff began experiencing dizziness, tingling, skin crawling, headaches, as well as continuing pain in his hands and wrist by November 10, 2016. Id. Plaintiff was sent to health care, where he requested pain medication. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The unnamed nurse on duty refused to give him any, although she put him in to see the doctor. Id. On November 12, 2016 Plaintiff saw Santos. Id. Santos thought his symptoms may be explained by allergies or as a side effect of the prednisone. Id. Santos ordered a blood test, but also refused to give Plaintiff any pain medication or an x-ray. Id.

         On November 17, 2016, Plaintiff met with Santos again to go over the results of his blood work. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). Santos showed Plaintiff the results and stated that everything looked “good, normal.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff told Santos that he was still experiencing numbing, tingling, aching, swelling, and skin crawling, and asked for an x-ray. Id. Santos denied that anything was wrong with Plaintiff and refused to provide any further treatment. Id. Plaintiff sent a request to health care administrator Lisa Krebs regarding this incident the same day. Id.

         On November 25, 2016, Plaintiff noticed that his hand was making a crunching sound and experienced pain between his thumb and index finger. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff also experienced cramps while writing and brushing his teeth. Id. Plaintiff continued to experience back pain, neck pain, and dizziness. Id.

         Plaintiff's mother followed up with Krebs on November 30, 2016, asking why the contusion on Plaintiff's right hand hadn't received medical treatment. Id. Krebs responded that the hand would have to heal on its own. Id. Plaintiff also followed up with Krebs, Santos, and Garcia via kites on December 18, 2016. Id.

         Plaintiff received his medical records on December 21, 2016 and noticed that his BUN/CREAT ration was out of range. Id. Plaintiff alleges that his godmother is a nurse and she told his mother that a BUN/CREAT ratio of 8.1 is dangerously low and that the prison should have informed Plaintiff when his ratio dropped from 9.1 to 8.1. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff tried to tell Krebs about his low BUN/CREAT ratio and request a blood pressure check, but she refused to talk to him. (Doc. 1, p. 8). On January 26, 2017, Plaintiff received a response to his grievance from health care about this issue, noting that his ratio was “out of range” but declining to take action because it was not “panic level.” (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         Plaintiff was referred to the doctor again on December 22, 2016 for nerve pain in both arms, a cyst, crunching in his hand, and hand, wrist and back pain. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff saw Santos the next day and complained about the symptoms in his right hand. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff asked if Santos could hear the crunching and the raised his hand from his lap. Id. Santos flinched and hit Plaintiff's injured hand. Id. Plaintiff put both hands in the air because it looked like Santos was preparing to strike him again. Id. Santos told Plaintiff not to touch him. Id. Plaintiff apologized and told Santos he wasn't trying to touch him, he just wanted to show Santos his injured hand. Id. Santos calmed down and the examination continued. Id. Santos noted that Plaintiff had a cyst on his wrist. Id. He also pushed down on the affected area until Plaintiff said “ouch.” Id. Santos then ordered an x-ray and ibuprofen. Id. Plaintiff's hand throbbed for 3 days after the examination. Id. Plaintiff reported the incident to internal affairs; Lt. Robinson investigated based on Plaintiff's letter to Krebs. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff requested a restraining order against Santos. (Doc. 1, p. 14).

         Plaintiff's mother contacted Lisa Pratcher in December 2016 to complain about Plaintiff's medical issues. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). Pratcher told Plaintiff's mother she'd look into it but then Pratcher stopped replying. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Pratcher eventually referred Plaintiff's mother to Steve Meeks, the IDOC director for the Southern District. Id. Plaintiff's mother informed Meeks and Pratcher about Plaintiff's pain and suffering and low BUN/CREAT ratio. Id. Meeks also eventually stopped responding to Plaintiff's mother. Id. At one point, Plaintiff's mother was referred back to Krebs, who was rude and stated that Plaintiff would only be given Tylenol and ibuprofen. (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11).

         On January 15, 2017, Plaintiff grew dizzy while urinating and passed out, hitting his head. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Plaintiff was experiencing frequent urination, pain in his kidney area, and shaking. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Santos examined Plaintiff and noted that his right ear was full of wax; Santos ascribed the fainting to the blocked ear. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he complained of being light-headed as early as November 10, 2016 and that he had passed out previously on November 16, 2016, but that there was no wax build-up during those times. Id. Santos only gave Plaintiff ear drops, despite Plaintiff's requests for pain treatment. Id.

         While taking the ear drops, Plaintiff experienced dizziness on January 18, 2017. Id. Plaintiff alleges Santos shouldn't have prescribed him the ear drops for dizziness because the label instructed patients to speak to their doctor if they experienced dizziness. Id. Plaintiff had an ear flush on January 21, 2017 that released a ball of wax the size of a penny. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff followed up with Nurse Brewer on February 11, 2017, and she could not release any more wax, but told him that he had hard wax in his left ear that would need to be scraped out. (Doc. 1, p. 15). But when Plaintiff met with Santos a few days later, Santos denied that there was any wax in Plaintiff's ear. Id.

         On February 6, 2017, Plaintiff saw Santos against regarding the pain in his kidney area. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Santos conducted an exam, in which he pressed on Plaintiff's kidneys. Id. When Plaintiff expressed pain, Santos told him he was faking it because Santos had been pushing on muscle. Id. Santos told Plaintiff that all of his labs were normal. Id. Plaintiff asked about his BUN/CREAT ratio ...

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