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Kane v. Santos

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 24, 2017

ADAM R. KANE, #R-09804, Plaintiff,
v.
DOCTOR SANTOS, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, NURSE PICKETT, and NURSE SCHUMUKOR, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Adam Kane, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at East Moline Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”). (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims that he was denied adequate medical care for a growth on his right arm in 2015. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-7). He now brings this action against Centralia's Medical Director, Doctor Santos, Nurse Pickett, and Nurse Schumukor for violating his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         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). The Complaint survives review under this standard.

         The Complaint

         During his incarceration at Centralia, Plaintiff developed a large, painful growth on his right arm. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Lieutenant Rose[1] sent him to the prison's health care unit (“HCU”) for treatment on October 4, 2015. Id. After examining the growth, a nurse told Plaintiff that he would be “alright” and sent him back to his cell with a Band-Aid. Id.

         Plaintiff returned to the HCU three days later. (Doc. 1, p. 3). By this time, the growth on his arm was swollen and painful. Id. It was also oozing “noxious-smelling odorous fluids.” Id. Plaintiff was sent back to his housing unit without any treatment. Id.

         The same day, he returned to the HCU demanding to be seen. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff complained of pain and swelling, and he requested a diagnosis and treatment. Id. When the HCU nurse first saw him, she exclaimed, “[H]oly cow, how long have you had that?” Id. The nurse told Plaintiff that he was “not going anywhere” and admitted him to the HCU. Id.

         The following day, Nurse Pickett met with Plaintiff to “purportedly swab the area for a biopsy.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). At the time, the growth was still leaking fluids. Id. Doctor Santos entered the room and instructed Plaintiff to follow him into “surgery.” Id. He appeared to have a scalpel and scissors in his possession. Id. Without prepping the area for surgery or applying a numbing agent, the doctor began cutting and snipping at the growth. Id. As the doctor cut “through live tissue, ” Plaintiff complained of excruciating pain. Id. In response to Plaintiff's complaints, the doctor asked, “What are you a boy scout?” Id. The doctor did not apply a numbing agent to Plaintiff's arm until “after-the-fact.” Id.

         Nurses Pickett and Schumukor were present during the entire procedure. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Neither objected to the doctor's actions nor took steps to stop him from performing surgery on Plaintiff. Id. They also took no steps to summon help from the nearby Medical Director, who was aware of the procedure and allegedly approved of or condoned the doctor's actions. Id. Instead, the nurses watched “in horror while . . . grimacing [and] . . . wincing with each snip.” Id. Another nurse later described the doctor's actions as “barbaric.” Id.

         After getting over the initial shock associated with the doctor's actions and the lack of concern he showed for Plaintiff's pain, Plaintiff asked to be taken to a hospital. (Doc. 1, p. 4). In response, the doctor said, “Well, for this to be done correctly you'd need to go to an outside hospital but the State is broke, so this will have to do.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Doctor Santos then told Plaintiff that the growth was only an abscess, but a biopsy would still be ordered. Id.

         Doctor Santos left a dime-sized hole in Plaintiff's arm. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff was given a topical antibiotic, i.e., Silvadine, and instructed to take daily showers in the HCU. ...


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