United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DOUGLAS W. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., PHIL MARTIN, and DR. JOHN COE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the Court is the motion for summary judgment
filed by Defendants John Coe and Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
on January 9, 2017 (Doc. 127), and the motion for summary
judgment filed by Defendant Phil Martin on January 13, 2017
(Doc. 131). Plaintiff Douglas Taylor filed a combined
response to both motions on April 11, 2017 (Doc. 148). For
the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied.
Taylor (“Taylor”), an inmate currently housed at
Big Muddy River Correctional Center is proceeding on a third
amended complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on
June 17, 2016. He alleges four claims (Counts 3, 4, 5, and 6)
related to the eye care he received while incarcerated at
Lawrence Correctional Center beginning on or about June 7,
2012 (Doc. 101). These claims are:
Count 3: Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
against Wexford Health Sources, Inc., for maintaining
unconstitutional practices or policies with respect to
staffing the optometrist position and procedures for
requesting medical care.
Count 4: Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
against Defendant Dr. John Coe for failing to treat
Plaintiffs eye condition from June 7, 2012, to the present.
Count 5: Failure to intervene against Defendant Dr. Coe for
failing to prevent harm related to his eye condition caused
by Dr. Hohenbary's deliberate indifference.
Count 6: Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
against Defendant Phil Martin for failing to treat Plaintiffs
eye condition and/or by delaying treatment.
remaining Defendants now seek summary judgment.
first sought eye care in June 2012 when he began experiencing
sensitivity to light and pain in his eyes. (Doc. 148-1, p. 7;
Doc. 148-4, p. 12-13). In his deposition, Taylor testified
that he requested nurse sick call in June 2012 for his eye
problems by placing the request in the healthcare unit box.
Taylor asserts he made more than thirty such requests between
June 2012 and June 2013 (Doc. 148-4, p. 13-14). Ten to twenty
such requests were specifically addressed to Defendant
Martin, the Health Care Unit Administrator
(“HCUA”) (Doc. 148-1, p. 11). Taylor's
medical records, however, do not reflect any treatment for
eye pain in 2012 or early 2013 (Doc. 128-1, pp. 2-6). On
April 20, 2013, Taylor complained of migraines and was
referred to the doctor (Doc. 128-2, p. 1).
was seen by Dr. Coe on June 4, 2013. He described migraine
pain behind and in his eye and that it felt like his eyes
would “explode” (Doc. 148-1, p. 7). He reported
he may need glasses and was referred to optometry (Doc.
128-2, p. 2). Dr. Coe also prescribed Imitrex (a
migraine drug) and Indocin for a 6-month period (although
the Imitrex was discontinued 10 days later in favor of the
Indocin, which Dr. Coe stated “may work” (Doc.
128-2, p. 3, 5)).
again was seen by Dr. Coe on September 19, 2013. Taylor
reported that the Indocin was working and that when he
“popped his neck” his headaches sometimes went
away (Doc. 128-2, p. 5). Dr. Coe increased the Indocin dosage
(from 25 mg to 50 mg), noted that Taylor was scheduled to see
an optometrist, and said that Taylor should return if the
headaches did not improve after his vision was checked
(Id.). During this visit, Taylor told Dr. Coe that
he believed he was losing vision and that the medication and
“popping” his neck did nothing to resolve the eye
pain (Doc. 148-1, p. 8). Dr. Coe told Taylor that the
optometrist was busy and that Taylor may be confusing
migraines for eye problems, which Taylor did not believe was
accurate (Doc. 148-1, p. 8).
October 3 to October 7, 2013, Taylor sent daily request
slips, addressed to Dr. Coe and HCUA Martin, expressing
concerns about not receiving eye care and about the pain he
was experiencing because of the delay (Doc. 148-1, p. 8). On
October 22, 2013, the optometrist (Dr. Hohenbary) indicated
that Taylor's appointment needed to be rescheduled
because he “ran out of time” and that
Taylor's appointment should be rescheduled
“ASAP” (Doc. 128-2, p. 8). When Taylor saw Dr.
Coe again on November 5, 2013, he again sought to see the
optometrist. Taylor was told nothing could be done and he
needed to write a grievance (Doc. 148-1, p. 8). On this
visit, it was noted that Indocin was effective for the
migraines (Doc. 128-2, p. 9). On November 20, 2013, Taylor
again sought care for headaches “around the eyes”
with blurry vision and “put in” to see the eye
doctor. (Id. at p. 10).
February 20, 2014, Taylor again saw Dr. Coe and explained
that his conditioned had worsened; his eyes were now so
sensitive to light that he could not open them outside (Doc.
148-1, p. 9). Dr. Coe prescribed some additional medications
including Topamax for what appears to be a 4-week plus 4-day
period (Doc. 128-2, p. 11). Dr. Coe conducted a chart review
twice in April 2014. (Id. at pp. 11-12).
was finally seen by an optometrist, Dr. Kehoe, on May 16,
2014. Dr. Kehoe ordered glasses for Taylor and told Taylor
his eye pressure was three times the normal amount (Doc.
148-1, p. 9; Doc. 128-3, p. 1). The records appear to reveal
astigmatism and possible glaucoma (Id.). A second
examination on June 8, 2014, resulted in orders for further
diagnostic testing, including a baseline Pachymetry and
visual field test (used to test for glaucoma), scheduled for
July 17, 2014 (Doc. 128-2, p. 14). Taylor went to an outside
clinic for the tests (see Doc. 128-3, p. 4) and was
told thereafter that he had an “absolute nasal quadrant
defect spreading past the horizontal/midline” (Doc.
148-1, p. 9). Taylor was diagnosed with hypertension glaucoma
and told that he had 25% vision loss in his right eye (Doc.
148-1, p. 9). Various medications were prescribed (Doc.
129-3, p. 6) and an “urgent” MRI was requested on
July 20, 2014 (Doc. 128-3, p. 7). Dr. Coe reviewed the MRI
results with Taylor, which showed no abnormalities (Doc.
128-4, p. 5). According to Taylor, the eye drops
prescribed for his glaucoma has lessened his eye pain
considerably (Doc. 148-1, p. 9).
continued treating Taylor's migraine headaches and
re-prescribed Topamax on August 11, 2014 (Doc. 128-2, p.
At this appointment, Taylor told Dr. Coe that the drug
“hurt my eyes.” Dr. Coe told Taylor not to worry;
the drug causes a little pain that he would have to live with
(Doc. 148-1, p. 10). Dr. Coe subsequently told Taylor, on
December 1, 2014, to stop taking Topamax (Id. 11;
Doc. 132-2, p. 61). Three days later, Taylor experienced
uncontrollable shaking and falling to the ground, severe pain
in his head, episodes of unconsciousness, and uncontrollable
bowel movements and urination (Doc. 148-1, p. 11). Taylor
sought medical care for these issues but never was called to
the healthcare unit (Id.). Taylor believes that the
symptoms were the result of stopping Topamax suddenly. Dr.
Coe saw Taylor again in June 2015 and noted that he only had
a “mild headache” at the time (Doc. 132-2, p.
the relevant time period, Defendant Martin was the Health
Care Unit Administrator at Lawrence. Martin does not have a
medical degree and does not manage the health care that is
provided to inmates. Rather, he ensures that “offenders
were generally receiving medical care in accordance with all
administrative directives” (Doc. 148-4, p. 2). Martin
attested that he has no authority to “direct an
offender's medical care, ” nor did he direct the
work of the optometrist or “manage any waiting list of
patients to see the optometrist” (Id.). He had
the authority to review offender grievances and medical
records, however, and would “request staff to
schedule” an offender to see a medical professional
(Id. at p. 3). In particular: “if it appears
[from a grievance or through some notification process] that
the offender was not being seen by medical staff altogether,