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Saterfield v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 29, 2018

LLOYD SATERFIELD, #K53497, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN R. BALDWIN, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., DR. RITZ, and DR. SMITH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Lloyd Saterfield, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical issues in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An 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 any reasonable person would find meritless. 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         After a careful review of the Complaint and supporting exhibits, this case survives the Court's threshold screening.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: near the end of 2013, Plaintiff began to have chronic lower back pain that made it hard for him to work, sit up to write or read, and, at times, leave his cell for meals and activities. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff submitted a nurse sick call about this issue. Id. After he spoke with the nurse, he was given 600mg of Ibuprofen and was put on the list to see the doctor. Id. At the doctor's visit, Plaintiff was told that he was getting old and had “a little arthritis in his lower back.” Id. The doctor told him that he could only give him some Ibuprofen to ease the pain. Id.

         This pattern continued until Plaintiff spoke with Dr. John Trost, who ordered that Plaintiff be given an x-ray for chronic lower back pain and right foot drop. Id. The x-ray was performed March 24, 2014. Id. Dr. Trost found that Plaintiff had minimal degenerative changes. Id. On May 16, 2014, he submitted Plaintiff's name for a consult with neurology for right foot drop and chronic lower back pain. Id. On May 30, 2014, Plaintiff received a Medical Special Service Referral Denial form, stating that “Dr. Garcia UM Wexford denied neurology/neurosurgery consult. Dr. Garcia UM Wexford recommended Dr. Trost reassess inmate and perform a good neuro exam and represent. Dr. Garcia also recommended onsite x-ray of C-Spine and Thoracic Spine and represent with results.” (Doc. 1, p. 4); (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Dr. Trost ordered the recommended x-rays on June 5, 2014, and the results came back as “unremarkable cervical and thoracic spine radiographs.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). Dr. Trost then put Plaintiff in for an MRI because he was still having lower back pain and right foot drop, and he could not work, sit up, read or write, or leave his cell for meals and activities at certain times. Id.

         On August 4, 2014, Plaintiff got an MRI of his lumbar spine. Id. It revealed a “bilateral lateral recess narrowing related to a disc bulge with moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis at L-4, L-5, bilateral ligamentous thickening, facet arthropathy, and facet effusions.” Id. Also shown was a “bilateral recess narrowing with facet disease at L-5, S-1, but no canal or foraminal stenosis.” Id. After receiving these results, Dr. Trost submitted Plaintiff to see a spine surgeon on September 11, 2014. Id. On September 15, 2014, Wexford recommended that Dr. Trost “gather more information and represent if necessary.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Dr. Trost told Plaintiff that he was not sure what else Wexford wanted, and he thought it was just trying to save money. Id. He told Plaintiff he could give him more Ibuprofen, and he recommended Plaintiff file suit against Wexford. Id.

         Thanks to the pain medication, Plaintiff's pain became tolerable, so “he put up with it until June 6, 2017, when he had to be taken to SIH Herrin Hospital for increased colon content and kidney failure.” Id. At the hospital, his labs showed that Plaintiff was “at the verge of death.” Id. The kidney specialist at the hospital advised Plaintiff ...


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