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Parker v. Federal Bureau of Prisons Health Services Division

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 12, 2018

TERRY ALTON PARKER, #15381-045, Plaintiff,



         This action was originally filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and was transferred here on January 19, 2018. (Doc. 12). Plaintiff, Terry Alton Parker, is currently housed at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (“USP Terre Haute”). Plaintiff's Complaint pertains to his incarceration at the Federal Prison Camp in Marion, Illinois (“Marion”). According to the Complaint, when Plaintiff was incarcerated at Marion, officials failed to provide appropriate treatment for his serious medical condition (heart condition and related pain). Plaintiff contends Defendants are liable pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680, and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).[1] In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues the Federal Bureau of Prisons Health Services Division, Marion Prison Camp Medical Staff, Randell Pass (Medical Provider, Marion), Casey Franks (Medical Provider, Marion), Leslee Brooks (Medical Provider, Marion), Patrick Trovillin (Medical Provider, Marion), A. Deaton (Correctional Officer/Counselor, Marion), and S. Holem (Chaplain, Marion).[2] Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief.

         The case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint (Doc. 2) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 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).

         Request for Injunctive Relief

         Plaintiff was housed at Marion from approximately November 2014 through September 2016.[3] On September 10, 2016, prison officials informed Plaintiff he was being transferred to USP Terre Haute, where Plaintiff is presently incarcerated. On October 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action.

         The Complaint alleges that Marion officials were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's heart condition and associated pain. Plaintiff does not direct any specific allegations against officials at USP Terre Haute and none of the Defendants are associated with USP Terre Haute. However, at the close of the Complaint, Plaintiff claims that he is still being denied medical treatment and that he is in need of injunctive relief. Unfortunately, the Court cannot address Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief in this action. As noted above, the events giving rise to this action occurred at Marion and all of Plaintiff's allegations are directed at Marion officials. Indeed, that is the very reason the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana transferred the action here. (See Doc. 12, p. 2 “Here, the individual defendants, the alleged misconduct, and most of the evidence is located or took place in the Southern District of Illinois.”). Thus, Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief is unrelated to the claims at issue in this case and must be denied.

         If Plaintiff is presently being denied medical treatment for a serious medical need at USP Terre Haute, he must file a new lawsuit naming as defendants the individuals at USP Terre Haute who are responsible for providing him with care. Plaintiff may then file a Rule 65 motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction in that new action.

         The Complaint

         When Plaintiff arrived at Marion, he suffered from a heart condition and had an implanted heart pacemaker. (Doc. 2, p. 2). According to Plaintiff, because of his heart condition and pacemaker, he should have been classified as a “medical level 3, ” resulting in placement at a facility equipped to handle such medical issues. Id. Instead, Plaintiff was classified as a “medical level 2” and was placed at Marion, a facility that Plaintiff alleges was not equipped to handle his serious medical issues. Id.

         As soon as Plaintiff arrived at Marion, he encountered problems with the medical staff. Unspecified individuals claimed they never received Plaintiff's medical records and/or had thrown them away. (Doc. 2, pp. 2-3). This resulted in a delay in treatment because Marion officials refused to rely on the medical records provided by Plaintiff. (Doc. 2, p. 2). After submitting numerous complaints about issues associated with his heart, “Marion” finally ordered tests. (Doc. 2, p. 3). The tests revealed that Plaintiff's pacemaker was misfiring and that Plaintiff had “blockage gaps.” Id.

         Marion officials referred Plaintiff for treatment with Doctor Mwansa (not a defendant in this action) at the River Clinic in Marion, Illinois. Id. Dr. Mwansa performed several tests and all of the results were “bad and serious.” Id. On February 2, 2015, Dr. Mwansa admitted Plaintiff to the hospital for a heart catheterization. Id. The test revealed a triple blockage, known as the LAD widow maker. Id. Dr. Mwansa contacted Marion and had Plaintiff transferred by ambulance to St. Francis hospital for an emergency surgery with Dr. Bender.[4]

         Plaintiff told Dr. Bender (not a defendant in this action) that a previous physician told him his heart was too weak for surgery, particularly because Plaintiff had, at some point, received radiation treatment. Id. According to the Complaint, Dr. Bender then falsified documents to justify the emergency surgery. Id. Additionally, with regard to Dr. Bender, Plaintiff complains about the following: (1) he elected to perform a double bypass instead of a triple bypass; (2) he rushed Plaintiff's surgery; (3) he performed the surgery improperly; and (4) he failed to close Plaintiff's chest properly. Id.

         Two months after Plaintiff's double bypass, he had a second heart surgery. (Doc. 2, p. 8). The procedure was performed by Dr. Mwansa and involved a stent repair. (Doc. 2, p. 5). Plaintiff claims that the incision from this surgery never healed properly and causes constant pain. (Doc. 2, pp. 5, 8).

         According to the Complaint, while at Marion (before, during, and after his surgeries), medical officials repeatedly exhibited deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's heart condition and associated pain. (Doc. 2, pp. 4-8). For instance, after his first surgery, Plaintiff claims he was forced to walk long distances in ice and snow and to walk up and down stairs - all against doctors' orders. (Doc. 2, p. 4). He also claims that Marion officials (1) refused to give him pain medication, as prescribed by Dr. Bender (Doc. 2, p. 4); (2) repeatedly ignored his complaints about ongoing pain, loose wires in his chest, and other troubling symptoms (Doc. 2, pp. 2-8); (3) knew he had received a double bypass when, in fact, he needed a triple bypass (Doc. 2, p. 5); (4) ignored problems relating to a severely swollen ankle (Doc. 2, p. 7); and (5) failed to send Plaintiff to follow-up appointments in a timely manner (Doc. 2, p. 7). However, with few exceptions, Plaintiff's deliberate indifference allegations are not directed at any specific individual. Instead, these claims are directed at “FPC Marion, ” “staff, ” and/or “they.” Plaintiff does direct specific allegations against two Defendants: (1) Leslee Brooks (Physician's Assistant) and (2) A. Deaton (Correctional Officer/Counselor). Plaintiff alleges that, on one occasion, Deaton told Plaintiff he should not have notified his family about his surgery because “heart surgery was no big deal.” (Doc. 2, p. 4). Plaintiff alleges that Brooks repeatedly exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition in the following ways: (1) ignoring Plaintiff's requests for pain medication; (2) ignoring Plaintiff's complaints about being dizzy and short of breath; (3) ignoring Plaintiff's complaints about ongoing pain at the incision site; (4) ignoring Plaintiff's concerns about his pacemaker; and (5) delaying treatment and/or providing inadequate treatment. (Doc. 2, pp. 6-8).

         Dismissal of Certain Defendants

         Marion Prison Camp Medical Staff

         Plaintiff has named Marion Prison Camp Medical Staff as a defendant. This is not sufficient. Plaintiff must identify a particular individual (not a group of individuals) who deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional rights. That is because plaintiffs are required to associate specific defendants with specific claims, so that defendants are put on notice of the claims brought against them and so they can properly answer the complaint. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Where a plaintiff has not included a specific defendant in his statement of the claim, the defendant cannot be said ...

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