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Smado v. Rains

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 14, 2017

SCOTT SMADO, #B-03278, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID RAINS, DEREK RICE, KIM STEPHENS, TRAVIS JAMES, MRS. SLICHENMYER, PHIL MARTIN, and JAKE BROOKHART, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Scott Smado, an inmate currently housed at Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”), filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff brings allegations pertaining to the medical care he received (or failed to receive) at Robinson. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and any further relief that the Court deems just. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-13).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint (Doc. 1) 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

          On January 28, 2017, at 1:00 am, Plaintiff began vomiting black liquid. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff asked Hoalt, a correctional officer, to call the Healthcare unit. Id. Hoalt called the Healthcare unit and spoke with Rice, a nurse. Id. Rice told Hoalt to instruct Plaintiff to sign up for sick call because “everyone has a bug.” Id. At 2:00 am Plaintiff vomited black liquid again. Id. At 3:00 am Plaintiff signed up for sick call. Id. At 4:45 am, Plaintiff was dizzy, pale, and drenched in sweat. Id. He rushed to Hoalt and asked Hoalt to call a code 3. Id. Hoalt called the Healthcare unit a second time and relayed Plaintiff's symptoms to Rice. Id. Rice, once again, stated that Plaintiff needed to sign up for sick call. Id. Hoalt advised Rice that Plaintiff had already signed up for sick call and hung up the phone. Id. Hoalt then asked Plaintiff if he had chest pains. Id. Plaintiff denied having any chest pains. Id. Concerned about the distress Plaintiff was in, however, Hoalt called a code 3 for chest pains anyway. Id.

         Nursing staff took Plaintiff to the Healthcare unit. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Shah, a physician, and Rice examined Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff reported vomiting, chills, sweating, and dizziness. Id. Plaintiff's EKG readings were abnormal. Id. Accordingly, Shah gave Plaintiff medication and called an ambulance. Id. Emergency room staff determined that Plaintiff was bleeding internally and had lost a lot of blood. Id. Plaintiff received lifesaving treatment, including blood transfusions. Id. Further tests revealed Plaintiff had three ulcers in his esophagus and four ulcers in his stomach, which ruptured simultaneously. Id.

         On February 23, 2017, Plaintiff found blood in his stool. Id. Plaintiff asked Kocher, a correctional officer, to contact the Healthcare unit. Id. Kocher called the Healthcare unit and reported Plaintiff's symptoms to Stephens, a nurse. Id. Stephens indicated that the physician was out and that Plaintiff would have to wait until tomorrow. Id. Because Plaintiff had recently received emergency treatment for internal bleeding, Kocher disregarded Stephens and sent Plaintiff for treatment at the Healthcare unit. Id. A member of the nursing staff, Cummings, tested Plaintiff's stool. (Doc. 1, p. 5). It was positive for blood. Id. Follow-up stool tests (2/24/2017 through 2/26/2017) also revealed the presence of blood.

         After being taken to the healthcare unit on February 23, 2017, Plaintiff was also seen by James, a physician assistant. Id. James saw Plaintiff at 6:00 pm on February 23, 2017 (a Thursday). Cummings informed James that Plaintiff had blood in his stool. Id. James indicated that he would let the physician deal with Plaintiff on Monday.

         On Monday February 27, 2017-four days after blood was detected in Plaintiff's stool- Plaintiff was seen by Shah. Id. Shah ordered tests and discovered that Plaintiff was bleeding internally and was losing blood. Id.

         On several occasions, Plaintiff complained to Slichenmyer (the director of nursing), Martin (a healthcare administrator), Rains (the warden), and Brookhart (an internal affairs officer) regarding his allegedly inadequate medical treatment on January 28, 2017, and February 23, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-7). Specifically, Plaintiff complained that Rice and Stephens failed to promptly address his medical complaints. Id. These Defendants took no action, indicating that because Plaintiff was presently receiving medical care, no action was necessary. Id.

         In addition, when Plaintiff complained to Brookhart, he asked if Plaintiff intended to file a lawsuit. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). At some point, Brookhart spoke to Plaintiff and threatened and harassed him. Id. He indicated that if Plaintiff filed a lawsuit ...


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