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Stoces v. Obaisi

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 22, 2018

ROBERT STOCES, Plaintiff,
v.
SALEH OBAISI, DR. JILL WAHL, DENNIS LARSON and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          DONALD G. WILKERSON United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 102) and a Motion to Strike (Doc. 116) filed by Defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED as to Defendants Obaisi, Wahl and Larson, but is GRANTED as to Defendant Wexford; the Motion to Strike is GRANTED.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff Robert Stoces filed a complaint on March 11, 2015 alleging violations of his rights under the Eighth Amendment, as well as Illinois state law, against three health care providers at Lawrence Correctional Center and Wexford Health Sources (Doc. 1).

         Remaining before the Court are the following claims:

Count 1: Defendants Obaisi, Wahl, Larson and Wexford Health Services were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs when they failed to provide adequate medical care, including refusing or failing to order a colonoscopy; Count
3: Defendants Obaisi, Wahl, Larson and Wexford committed malpractice/were negligent in their care of Plaintiff.[1]

         In February 2013, Stoces was diagnosed with colon cancer (Doc. 1, p. 12). Stoces claims Defendants refused to order diagnostic tests in a timely manner that were essential to detecting his colon cancer earlier; instead they insisted on a course of treatment that was ineffective (Doc. 1, p. 12).

         Stoces was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) at the time the events in question occurred. He first visited the healthcare unit at Lawrence about his bowel problems in January 2010 (Doc. 1, p. 8). At that time, Stoces was provided Metamucil (Doc. 103-1, ¶ 7). It is undisputed Stoces saw Defendant Obaisi (a medical doctor at Lawrence) twenty-two additional times between January, 2011 and July, 2012 (Doc. 103-1, ¶¶ 7-18, 20-21, 25-27, 29-36). Obaisi claims Stoces only stated he had constipation on two occasions (Doc. 103-1, ¶¶ 7, 27), and never complained of abdominal pain or blood in his stool (Doc. 103-1, ¶¶ 7-18, 20-21, 25-27, 29-36).

         Conversely, Stoces alleges that from February 1, 2010 through December 21, 2010 he repeatedly requested a colonoscopy due to pain and a disruption in his normal bowel function (Doc. 113, p. 3). Stoces alleges Obaisi refused to order a colonoscopy due to costs, and several nurses told him Obaisi was not documenting Stoces' requests for a colonoscopy and related symptoms in his medical records (Doc. 113, p. 3). As a result, on December 21, 2010 Stoces went to the health care unit call line and asked that his request for a colonoscopy be documented in his medical file (Doc. 113, p. 3). Obaisi admits he saw Stoces six days later, but claims that is the first time a colonoscopy was requested (Doc. 103-1, ¶ 14). Obaisi denied the request on the grounds that Stoces was not alleging constipation, blood in his stool, or abdominal pain (Doc. 103-1, ¶ 14). Obaisi never ordered a colonoscopy.[2]

         On August 2, 2012 Stoces was seen by Defendant Dr. Wahl. It is undisputed Stoces told Wahl he had blood in his stool and that she was aware Stoces had told the nurse practitioner the previous week that he had blood in his stool for over three months (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). Wahl stated in her declaration that the records indicated Stoces was instructed by the nurse to collect three stool samples, but only one fecal blood test had been documented in the file at that time (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). She admits, however, she has no knowledge about how many samples he actually collected (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4), and Stoces states he collected at least five.

         Dr. Wahl saw Stoces two weeks later for an unrelated dermalogical condition, and alleges Stoces did not report any blood in his stool, constipation or abdominal pain at that time (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). She saw him against a few days later, reviewed his blood tests, which were normal, and alleges Stoces again did not complaint of any constipation, abdominal pain or blood in his stool (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). Stoces disagrees, stating he complained about his “constant pain, bowel obstruction, and blood in his stool” each time he saw Dr. Wahl (Doc. 113, p. 12).

         While Dr. Wahl saw Stoces several more times, she claims he did not report any blood in his stool again until September 27, 2012 (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). At which time, she ordered him to collect two more fecal samples (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). Wahl saw Stoces again several weeks later and did a rectal exam, noting that his stool was positive of occult blood (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). Dr. Wahl did not order a colonoscopy. Rather, she prescribed fiber and an anti-inflammatory suppository for internal hemorrhoids, despite the fact that she did not feel any hemorrhoids during the exam (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4). Dr. Wahl recommended follow up in one month to re-check Stoces' stool (Doc. 103-3, ¶ 4).

         There is no evidence in the record that such a follow up ever took place. Stoces was not seen again until November 9, 2012-three-and-a-half months later-when he was seen by Defendant Dr. Larson (Doc. 103-4, ¶ 4). Dr. Larson alleges Stoces did not complain of constipation, blood in his stool or abdominal pain at the appointment (Doc. 103-4, ¶ 4). There is no indication that Dr. Larson rechecked Stoces stool as recommended by Dr. Wahl, despite declaring that he relies on his review of medical records when making medical decisions (Doc. 103-4. ¶ 3).

         Dr. Larson conducted a review of Stoces' medical record the following month, and saw Stoces on December 13, 2012 to follow up on the blood in his stool (Doc. 103-4, ¶ 4). Larson admits Stoces told him at that appointment he had blood in his stool “since August 2012 and before” (Doc. 103-4, ¶ 4). Stoces admits he refused a rectal exam during that appointment, but explains his refusal was due to the need to have a bowel movement (Doc. 113, p. 12). He states he asked Dr. Larson to call him back to the health care unit for a rectal exam on another date, but Larson never did so (Doc. 113, p. 12). Dr. Larson stated that due to Stoces refusal of the rectal exam, he simply reordered fiber medication and indicated Stoces needed a follow up appointment in four to six weeks (Doc. 103-4, ¶ 4).

         Stoces was seen by Dr. Shepherd a month later due to abdominal pain (Doc. 103-2). Dr. Shepherd ordered a colonoscopy (Doc. 103-2). The colonoscopy was performed five days later and Stoces was diagnosed with colon cancer; he ...


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