Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Taliani v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

February 16, 2018




         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se from his incarceration in the Hill Correctional Center, pursues claims for deliberate indifference to his asthma during various times in 2015 and 2016 at the Pontiac Correctional Center.

         Both sides move for summary judgment. In considering these motions, the Court has viewed the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, resolving material factual disputes in the nonmovant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). That standard warrants denying both motions, either because disputed issues of material fact exist or because the record is not developed enough to make the determination.


         Plaintiff has had asthma since he was a child and so is familiar with the symptoms and warning signs when his asthma is not well controlled. Unlike some child asthmatics, Plaintiff never outgrew his asthma and, drawing inferences in Plaintiff's favor, Plaintiff still needs two kinds of inhalers to keep his asthma under control: a corticoid steroid inhaler taken every day and a “short-acting beta-2 agonist” used every 4-6 hours on an as needed basis for acute flare-ups. Plaintiff's asthma has been relatively well controlled on a corticoid steroid inhaler called Alvesco-two daily inhalations (160 mg)-and a short-acting inhaler, Xopenex, used on an as needed basis.

         No one disputes that Plaintiff's asthma is a serious medical need. The question is whether any of Defendants were deliberately indifferent. Deliberate indifference is the conscious disregard of a substantial risk of serious harm. An inference of deliberate indifference can arise if medical professionals take actions (or inactions) which are “such a substantial departure from accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards as to demonstrate that the person responsible did not base the decision on such a [professional] judgment.” Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 729 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Cole v. Fromm, 94 F.3d 254, 261-62 (7th Cir. 1996)).

         Plaintiff's claims center around delays in obtaining refills of his inhalers and the cessation of Plaintiff's corticoid steroid inhaler. Plaintiff also challenges Wexford's written policy regarding refills of short-acting beta-2 agonists and Wexford's alleged policy of permitting only one medical complaint per visit. The Court's analysis is organized by Defendant since the claims against each Defendant do not necessarily overlap.

         I. Defendant Pouk

         Plaintiff had trouble obtaining timely refills of his inhalers in June and July of 2015. In particular, the refill of Plaintiff's Alvesco inhaler was 12 days late in June 2015 and six days late in July 2015. Plaintiff's refill of Xopenex was eight days late in June 2015. According to Plaintiff, Plaintiff sent many requests to Defendant Pouk during this time period, with no response. (Medical Requests attached to Complaint, d/e 1-1, pp. 9-18.)(e.g., “Out! Out! Out! Please refill RX Alvesco 160 inhaler Rx Xopenex inhaler having shortness of breath and pain on left side of chest”). Defendant Pouk was the Director of Nursing at Pontiac Correctional Center at the time.

         Defendant Pouk avers that she cannot recall receiving any of Plaintiff's requests for refills and that, in any event, sending the request to her would not have been the proper procedure. However, Defendant Pouk does not explain what the proper procedure was or where Plaintiff's requests, addressed directly to Defendant Pouk, would have been sent. Additionally, though Defendant Pouk did not have the authority to write prescriptions, she did have the authority to review the status of Plaintiff's prescription. (Pouk Aff. ¶ 10.) The medical records show that Plaintiff already had current orders for refills through August 2015. (6/22/15 Progress Note, d/e 50-6, p. 16; Medication Administration Records, d/e 50-7, p. 31, showing prescriptions for Alvesco and Xopenex through August 2015.) Defendant Caruso, a Physician Assistant, avers that he prescribed these inhalers on January 29, 2015, for seven months, which would have taken Plaintiff to near the end of August 2015. (Caruso Aff. ¶ 4.) Defendant Pouk, then, would not have had to write any prescriptions for Plaintiff. Defendant Pouk does not address who is responsible for ensuring prescribed refills are filled timely or why Plaintiff's refills were late. In short, the record is not developed enough to rule out a reasonable inference that Defendant Pouk knew that Plaintiff needed refills to adequately control Plaintiff's asthma and that Defendant Pouk had the authority to make that happen. Whether Plaintiff suffered constitutionally-actionable harm from these temporary delays is questionable, but that question is not addressed by Defendants.

         II. Defendant Caruso

         Defendant Caruso worked as a Physician Assistant at Pontiac Correctional Center from September 15, 2014, through January 5, 2016. Defendant Caruso saw Plaintiff on various dates for various ailments during this time period, including the assessment of Plaintiff's asthma at the asthma chronic clinic.

         Defendant Caruso first saw Plaintiff on January 29, 2015 and continued Plaintiff's prescriptions for Alvesco and Xopenex for seven months. (Caruso Aff. ¶ 4.) Defendant Caruso realized on July 27, 2015, that Plaintiff had been receiving only 80 mg of Alvesco, even though Defendant Caruso had prescribed 160 mg. Defendant Caruso then increased the dosage to 160 mg to correct the dosage. (Caruso Aff. ¶ 9.)

         Plaintiff focuses on one visit with Defendant Caruso at the asthma clinic on July 21, 2015. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Caruso did not “provide an education plan, ” failed to conduct a meaningful physical exam, and failed to conduct a peak flow test. Plaintiff also contends that Plaintiff told Defendant Caruso that Plaintiff's inhalers were out and that Defendant Caruso ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.