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McKay v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 20, 2017

HAROLD McKAY, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendants Wexford Health Sources, Inc., and Shaliza Odom's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 32). Plaintiff Harold McKay, formerly an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center, filed this action alleging violations of his constitutional rights. (Doc. 1). Specifically, Plaintiff has proceeded on a single claim under the Eighth Amendment, which alleges that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference toward his serious medical needs by failing to provide him with dentures. (Doc. 4).

         Defendants now move for summary judgment, arguing that the record does not support a claim against Defendants and does not demonstrate deliberately indifferent medical treatment. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         Background

         From May 27, 2014 to September 25, 2015, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center (“Southwestern”). Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) contracts with the Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) to provide medical services to inmates and employed the medical personnel at Southwestern. Defendant Sheliza Odom worked as a dental assistant at Southwestern.

         The following relevant facts are set forth in Plaintiff's affidavit. (Doc. 36). On May 27, 2014, Plaintiff met with Dr. Elizabeth Brack and discussed Plaintiff's severe gum disease and tooth extractions. Dr. Brack informed Plaintiff that the one-year length of his sentence would allow sufficient time for the necessary medical treatment, including the provision of dentures.

         On June 14, 2014, eleven of Plaintiff's teeth were extracted. Plaintiff went to the healthcare unit on July 2, 2014, but received no treatment for gum disease. On October 2, 2014, Plaintiff's teeth were cleaned at the healthcare unit. He was instructed to brush and floss regularly, but received no treatment for gum disease. Plaintiff saw Dr. Brack on seven additional occasions, but received no further treatment for gum disease. On October 8, 2015, following his release from custody, Plaintiff met with a dentist who contradicted Dr. Brack by informing Plaintiff that he did not need any cavities filled and that his teeth were healthy and strong.

         According to Dr. Brack's affidavit, the following occurred.[1] (Doc. 33-1 at 1-8). On May 30, 2014, Dr. Brack examined Plaintiff for the first time. She noted the mobility of multiple teeth and severe periodontal disease and recommended the extraction of eleven teeth. She further advised Plaintiff that his dental condition required extensive restorative treatment before Plaintiff could receive dentures. Plaintiff elected for the extraction procedure, which occurred on June 14, 2014.

         On July 2, 2014, Dr. Brack examined Plaintiff and informed him he had been placed on a waiting list for restorative treatment. In the absence of an emergency, patients are placed on waiting lists for dental services and treated in the order of their placement on the waiting lists.

         On October 2, 2014, Plaintiff commenced restorative treatment and underwent a teeth cleaning procedure. Plaintiff's inability to tolerate the pain caused by the procedure resulted in the scheduling of another cleaning appointment. On October 28, 2014, a dental hygienist resumed the teeth cleaning process. The dental hygienist informed Plaintiff that, considering the severity of his dental condition, he may not be a candidate for partial dentures and advised him that partial dentures would only be a possibility if he complied with the instructions regarding dental hygiene.

         Plaintiff again saw a dental hygienist on November 4, 2014 to resume the teeth cleaning process. On December 29, 2014, Plaintiff's appointment was cancelled due to Dr. Brack calling in sick. On December 31, 2014, Plaintiff's appointment was cancelled due to a facility lockdown.

         On January 30, 2015, Dr. Brack examined Plaintiff and found that the teeth cleaning process had revealed cavities in three teeth. Dr. Brack informed Plaintiff that the next step before he could receive partial dentures was to fill the cavities. She further advised him that his overall health was not in danger and placed Plaintiff on the waiting list for fillings. On March 30, 2015, Dr. Brack met with Plaintiff at his request and reminded him that he was on the waiting list for fillings and that he could not have partial dentures until his fillings were completed.

         On April 30, 2015, Dr. Brack filled the cavities in the two teeth that were on the right side of Plaintiff's mouth. She declined to fill the cavities in all three teeth because the cavity-filling process requires numbing parts of the mouth, the third tooth was on the left side of the mouth and numbing both sides of the mouth at the same time is generally inappropriate as it would interfere with a patient's ability to eat and drink.

         On June 10, 2015 and August 18, 2015, Plaintiff asked when he would receive additional restorative treatment and partial dentures. He was informed that he was on the waiting list for his final filling and that partial ...


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