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Cade v. Coe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 27, 2017

DONTA L. CADE, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. J. COE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Plaintiff Donta Cade is an inmate incarcerated with the Illinois Department of Corrections. He brought the present lawsuit alleging violations of his civil rights stemming from allegedly inadequate treatment of a scalp condition. This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Immediate Medical Attention and Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 135). The Court has received briefing from the parties on the motion, and on October 17, 2017, held an evidentiary hearing, at which time it heard testimony from Plaintiff. (Doc. 142). The motion is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff has demonstrated that he is entitled to a preliminary injunction, and the Motion (Doc. 135) is GRANTED in part.

         Merits Review

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that no merits review of the Second Amended Complaint filed on March 17, 2017 has been conducted. The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires a court to review a complaint in a civil suit filed by a prisoner seeking redress from a government entity, officer, and/or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any claims that are “frivolous, malicious, or fail[] to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Id. at 1915A(b)(1). After receiving leave, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on March 17, 2017; however, no merits review has yet been conducted. After reviewing the Second Amended Complaint, the Court finds that all of the counts set forth by Plaintiff in that complaint warrant further review. The Court ADOPTS the counts set forth by Plaintiff in the Second Amended Complaint.[1] (See Doc. 98). With Plaintiff's claims now firmly established, the Court addresses his motion seeking preliminary injunctive relief.

         Background

         According to his testimony, Plaintiff entered Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) in October 2014. At that time he was suffering from bleeding and pus emitting from two spots on the crown of his scalp. At some point, a dermatologist diagnosed Plaintiff with suffering from acne keloidalis nuchae (“AKN”). In his testimony and through his briefing, Plaintiff has described a series of treatments from October 2014 to the present. The various treatments provided to Plaintiff have failed to provide him with full relief from his AKN, however. While he has been provided an antibiotic that heals the infection caused by the AKN, Plaintiff still suffers from a keloid in the back of his head. He testified that the keloid causes a continuous throbbing pain, and that his head continuously itches. He has been unable to obtain relief from these symptoms, even after the three years of various treatments. Plaintiff estimates that he has been to a prison healthcare unit at least 20 times since October 2014.

         On March 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking preliminary injunctive relief relating to treatment for his AKN. (Doc. 89). On May 31, 2017, in an Order agreed upon by the parties, the Court ordered Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) to provide Plaintiff with a physical examination of his AKN by a medical doctor at Graham Correctional Center (where Plaintiff now resides) for the purpose of recommending a course of treatment. (Doc. 117).

         On June 5, 2017, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Francis Kayira, who recommended a referral to a dermatologist. (Doc. 135-1). Dr. Kayira wrote on Plaintiff's progress notes: “Refer to dermatologist as trials of antibiotics and steroids…have failed.” (Id.). Plaintiff testified that Dr. Kayira also verbally told Plaintiff that he was recommending that Plaintiff see a dermatologist because the antibiotics and other treatments had not worked. There is no mention of the Court's May 31, 2017 order in Dr. Kayira's notes.

         Plaintiff was not referred to a dermatologist, however. On June 28, 2017, Dr. Kayira prepared a written referral denial. (Doc. 135-2). Dr. Kayira wrote “Request for Dermatology consult non approved by Dr. Ritz in collegial with Dr. Kayira. Acne keloids topical treatments have not worked.” (Id.). Dr. Kayira indicated that the matter would be discussed the following week once information could “be obtained on the court order.” (Id.).

         At his deposition, Dr. Kayira testified that the only reason he initially referred Plaintiff to a dermatologist was because “someone” told him that the Court had ordered Dr. Kayira to send Plaintiff somewhere. (Doc. 138-3, p. 2 - 3). He testified that, without the court order, he would not have issued the referral. (Id. at 3). According to Dr. Kayira, he would only send an inmate suffering from AKN to a specialist if surgery is required; however, Plaintiff's AKN did not warrant a referral. (Id.). He still acknowledged that past medications had not helped Plaintiff, but testified that had he not thought he was required to refer Plaintiff to a dermatologist, he would try different antibiotics or topical steroids. (Id. at 3, 4).

         Dr. Kayira testified that he discussed his referral at a collegial. He testified that, as part of the collegial, he spoke with a Dr. Ritz, who is a Wexford physician located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Id. at 4). According to Dr. Kayira, he told Dr. Ritz that he was referring Plaintiff to a dermatologist due to a court order. (Id.). Dr. Ritz asked for the order, but Dr. Kayira told him that he did not have it. (Id.). Dr. Kayira testified that Dr. Ritz then decided that the case would be continued until they could determine what the court order said. (Id.).

         Plaintiff, however, testified that Dr. Kayira told him that the doctor did not know why Plaintiff's referral was denied, and that he would look into it and get back to Plaintiff. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Kayira did not get back in touch with Plaintiff on this matter. The back of Plaintiff's head later became infected again, and Plaintiff was provided more of the same antibiotic he had been provided previously, along with a benzyl peroxide wash. To date, however, Plaintiff has not been referred to or otherwise seen by a dermatologist.

         Preliminary ...


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