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Hickman v. Wexford Healthcare Sources

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 26, 2017

TONY HICKMAN, #B-87476, Plaintiff,


          J. Phil Gilbert, U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Tony Hickman, an inmate in Robinson Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical issues in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1). 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 allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: on April 28, 2016, Plaintiff injured his wrist and began to experience severe pain and swelling. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff went to health care and received a wrap and ibuprofen. Id. On May 6, 2016, Plaintiff returned to health care for X-rays. Id. The X-rays showed that he “had a fracture in the mid-pole of the scaphoid” in his wrist. Id. On May 27, 2016, he was put in a soft cast. Id. On June 27, 2016, he again received X-rays, and the fracture was still visible. Id. “Dr. Shah knew [Plaintiff] was in continued pain and that [his] wrist was not healing properly.” Id. Plaintiff received another X-ray on August 19, 2016. Id. On August 29, 2016, Dr. Shah created a report that stated Plaintiff's wrist injury was not urgent despite his knowledge that Plaintiff was in pain and that his wrist was not healing properly. Id. On September 12, 2016, Plaintiff was approved by Dr. Ritz for surgery on his wrist. Id.

         On October 5, 2016, Plaintiff was sent to the Carle Physician Group Ortho Clinic for a consult. Id. Wexford Healthcare never forwarded Plaintiff's X-ray results to Carle hospital. Id. On October 21, 2016, Plaintiff had surgery on his wrist. Id. He went to a follow-up in January 2017, during which Dr. Sobeski, who did the procedure, told him that his wrist was not healing properly and would require a second surgery. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Dr. Shah “knew of the pain [Plaintiff] was having with [his] wrist as [his] pain medication went from 200mg to 600mg.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff's wrist has been in continuous pain for over a year, and it has limited mobility. Id. Despite this, Plaintiff was told that he would have to wait 12-24 months for another surgery. Id.

         Wexford “has a policy and procedure in its own handbook for ‘cost considerations'” encouraging its employees to “stay away from expensive medications, MRIs, CT-scans, and surgeries because it is on a budgeted bid with” the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). Id. These doctors within Wexford are incentivized by Wexford to stay under this “budget.” Id.

         The continued problems with Plaintiff's wrist could have been avoided with proper treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). “Dr. Shah and Phil Martin the Healthcare Administrator clearly knowing of the fracture to [his] wrist yet waiting several months to have it treated was deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.” (Doc. 1, p. 8). Phil Martin “was directly involved in this suit as he gave the approval months later to have [Plaintiff] sent to Carle Ortho.” Id.

         Plaintiff requests monetary damages and “to have the right treatment/surgery to have [his] ...

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