United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE:
currently incarcerated at Lincoln Correctional Center
(“Lincoln”), has brought this pro se civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arose
while he was confined at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff claims that
Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical
condition. This case is now before the Court for a
preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of
the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for
money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face
“when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is
obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see
Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some
factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that
they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's
claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581
(7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally
construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
December 12, 2016, Plaintiff injured his leg while in the
gym. He went to the Health Care Unit that evening and was
given a crutch. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff was told that he
would be seen by a doctor the next morning.
next day, however (December 13, 2016), Plaintiff was not on
the call list to see a doctor. He asked the John Doe
Correctional Officer #1 (R4-B-Wing)to help him get medical
attention, because he was in extreme pain. The John Doe
Officer #1 asked Nurse Richardson to see Plaintiff, but
Richardson refused. (Doc. 1, p. 14).
December 14, 2016, Plaintiff again informed the John Doe
Correctional Officer #2 on duty of his need for medical
attention. The John Doe Officer #2 told Nurse Richardson
again that Plaintiff was injured. Richardson again refused to
see Plaintiff, telling the John Doe Officer #2 and the
R4-Unit John Doe Lieutenant that Plaintiff would not be seen
by anyone. (Doc. 1, p. 15).
December 15, 2016, Plaintiff was seen in the Health Care
Unit, where he was diagnosed with a torn tendon in his lower
right leg. He was sent to an outside hospital on December 16,
2016, where he was assessed by Dr. Woods (who is not a
Defendant), and scheduled for surgery. The tendon-repair
surgery was performed on December 23, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 15).
January 10, 2017, back at the prison, Nurse Rogers removed
Plaintiff's stitches. He questioned her, because he had
not yet returned to the specialist (Dr. Woods) for an
assessment of the surgery site, but Rogers assured Plaintiff
that it was proper for her to remove them. Later that day,
Plaintiff showed the incision to another nurse (Helena, who
is not a Defendant), who noted that the removal of the
stitches had left a “large opening” in
Plaintiff's leg. The nurse called an unknown doctor with
this information, and the doctor told her to “use her
judgment” to address Plaintiff's condition. She put
2 “taped stitches” over the wound, and told
Plaintiff that his stitches had been removed too early. (Doc.
1, p. 16).
continued to have serious problems with the surgical site. He
suffered with “constant pain” from December 2016
through at least June 2017. On or before March 1, 2017,
Plaintiff was prescribed antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole-TMP
DS; generic for Bactrim). (Doc. 1, p. 19). On March 13, 2017,
he was given a 4th round of this medication, and Dr. Butalid
instructed Plaintiff to return for a follow-up in 10 days.
(Doc. 1, p. 18). Butalid ordered a blood test, but this was
not done until April 20, 2017. Despite the antibiotics, the
wound continued to be painful. Id.
around April 10, 2017, unidentified medical staff started
sending Plaintiff call passes to go to the Health Care Unit
once a day for dressing changes. (Doc. 1, p. 17). However,
many times he would not get a pass, and a nurse would give
Plaintiff bandages so he could perform the dressing change
April 17, 2017, Plaintiff noticed green pus oozing from the
wound. He told Nurse Brock, who advised him to write a
grievance. Despite this advice, Brock refused to “do
anything or talk to anybody else about” Plaintiff's
condition. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff went for a long period
without seeing a doctor. At some point he asked Nurse Nancy
for help to address his condition, and she refused. (Doc. 1,
April 20, 2017, Plaintiff had the blood test which Dr.
Butalid had ordered over a month before. He then had to wait
for another “45 to 90 days” before seeing Dr.
Butalid for a follow-up. When he saw the doctor, Plaintiff
was given another round of antibiotics, because the wound
continued to leak pus, soaking the bandages. (Doc. 1, pp.
taking the prescribed antibiotics, Plaintiff developed skin
problems, including an itchy rash, scabbing, and bumps all
over his body. This was diagnosed as scabies and treated
accordingly. However, it was discovered much later (on May
30, 2017) that Plaintiff was actually having an allergic
reaction to the antibiotics. (Doc. 1, pp. 19-20).
Furthermore, Dr. Butalid diagnosed Plaintiff with high blood
pressure that he stated was caused by the lengthy course of
antibiotics. Dr. Butalid put Plaintiff on Lisinopril to
control his blood pressure. (Doc. 1, p. 20).
2, 2017, Plaintiff was given Bactrim again. (Doc. 1, p. 22).
He claims that this should not have been done, because of the
allergic reaction that he had to this medication. He claims
that “medical staff” failed to keep accurate
medical records on his condition, and failed to follow the
recommendations of his specialist/surgeon (Dr. Woods).
15, 2017, Dr. Bob (who is not named as a Defendant), ordered
a week-long course of medication for Plaintiff, to help
reverse the allergic reaction. (Doc. 1, pp. 20-21). However,
Nurse Jana failed to give Plaintiff this medication for the
week. She created a false record stating that Plaintiff got
the medication, when he in fact did not receive it. Plaintiff
told Dr. Bob about the problem, but he just told Plaintiff to
“tell somebody higher up.” (Doc. 1, p. 21).
claims generally that all the John/Jane Doe Nurses (#1-20),
John/Jane Doe Doctors (#1-6), John/Jane Doe Physician
Assistants (#1-6), and John/Jane Doe Nurse Practitioners
(#1-6), saw him throughout the 6 months he was treated
following his surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
end, Plaintiff had to undergo a second surgery on the same
leg (he does not disclose the date of this surgery). Dr.
Woods told Plaintiff that taking the antibiotics for 6 months
and the ensuing allergic reaction caused “major
damage” to Plaintiff's lower right leg. (Doc. 1, p.
21). Dr. Woods performed the second surgery at the John Doe
Hospital in Herrin, Illinois. (Doc. 1, p. 22). The John/Jane
Doe Anesthesiologist failed to do his/her job properly,
because Plaintiff regained consciousness during the surgery,
when he “felt digging sensations and sharp pains”
and started talking. Id. The John/Jane Doe
Anesthesiologist “went into a panic” and put
Plaintiff back under. Id.
further complains that Pinckneyville officials do not
properly handle inmate grievances. (Doc. 1, pp. 22-25). The
counselor does not consistently make grievance forms
available, causing a delay in the process. The counselor,
grievance officer, and Warden Jaimet deny grievances over
medical care, which causes delay and more suffering.
Plaintiff claims that he put these officials on notice of his
need for medical care, but each denied his grievances. The
Administrative Review Board and IDOC Director Baldwin failed
to set up a medical committee to hear medical grievances, and
they also denied Plaintiff's grievances.
Plaintiff complains that Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
(“Wexford”), which employs the health
professionals at Pinckneyville, has been sued numerous times
over such problems as providing inadequate care to inmates
and violating IDOC rules. (Doc. 1, p. 25). They improperly
deny grievances. They have “cost induced
policies” and fail to follow specialist
recommendations. (Doc. 1, pp. 25-26). He claims that Wexford
failed to send him to a specialist in a timely manner.
Wexford fails to follow up, fails to hire competent
employees, and fails to help inmates with their medical
needs. He asserts that Wexford, as well as the other
Defendants, were deliberately indifferent to his medical
also invokes the Court's supplemental jurisdiction over
state law claims arising from these facts. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p. 27).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into the following
counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations
in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed
by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these
counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit. Any
other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed
Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against John Doe Correctional Officers #1 and #2, and John
Doe Lieutenant, for failing to obtain medical treatment for
Plaintiff on December 13-14, 2016;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Nurse Richardson, for refusing to give Plaintiff
medical attention on December 13-14, 2016;
Count 3: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Nurse Rogers, for removing Plaintiff's stitches
prematurely on January 10, 2017;
Count 4: State law malpractice/negligence claim against Nurse
Rogers, for removing Plaintiff's stitches prematurely on
January 10, 2017;
Count 5: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Dr. Butalid, for failing to monitor Plaintiff's
condition in a timely manner and continuing to treat
Plaintiff with ...