United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ROGER T. BROADDUS, Plaintiff,
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC. and SUSAN KERR, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS United States Magistrate Judge
se Plaintiff Roger Broaddus is a former inmate
incarcerated with the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”). He brought the present lawsuit pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his
constitutional rights while he was incarcerated. He alleges
his rights were violated regarding medical treatment for a
hernia from which he suffered at the time. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Kerr ignored his complaints relating to the
course of treatment for the hernia, and also alleges that
Defendant Wexford, the medical provider for IDOC, had a
policy of not approving surgeries in order to save costs.
This matter is before the Court on two motions for summary
judgment filed by Defendants (Docs. 47, 55). As discussed
below, the Court finds that an unconstitutional practice by
Wexford could be reasonably inferred, and its motion is
DENIED. Since Defendant Kerr, however, bore
no personal responsibility for Plaintiff's harm, her
motion is GRANTED.
times relevant to this suit, Plaintiff was an inmate
incarcerated by the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”) at either Big Muddy Correctional Center
(“Big Muddy”) or Robinson Correctional Center
(“Robinson”). (Doc. 1). Plaintiff first noticed
his hernia in January or February of 2009. (Doc. 48-4, p. 5).
In 2009, Plaintiff saw his primary care physician, a
non-Wexford physician, regarding his hernia, and his
physician indicated that surgery to repair the hernia was
elective. (Id. at 14). Since Plaintiff did not have
health insurance, he did not elect to have surgery at that
time. (Id.). When Plaintiff had insurance in
February 2010, he elected to have the surgery.
(Id.). His doctor, however, found that Plaintiff had
a heart flutter, told Plaintiff that the surgery would not be
performed, and sent Plaintiff to the hospital in an
he was incarcerated at Big Muddy, Plaintiff was seen by Dr.
Larson, a Wexford doctor, on September 18, 2010 for
complaints of a right inguinal hernia that had been present
for two years, but that reduced when he laid down. (Doc.
48-2, p. 2) Plaintiff complained of occasional straining
while using the bathroom. (Id.). His vital signs
were stable and he appeared in no apparent distress.
(Id.). Dr. Larson diagnosed Plaintiff with an
uncomplicated, easily reducible right inguinal hernia and
decided to implement a “Watchful Waiting”
protocol. (Id.) According to Dr. Larson,
“Watchful Waiting” is a term used by physicians
who chose to implement a continuing monitoring protocol with
patients diagnosed with uncomplicated hernias that are not
painful and present no health risk to the patient.
January 3, 2011 to November 16, 2012, Plaintiff presented to
a healthcare provider regarding his hernia at least 20 times.
(See Id. at 3 - 9; Doc. 48-3, p. 1 - 2). During some
visits at various times during this period Plaintiff
complained of pain associated with his hernia, and on at
least one occasion he reported nausea. With each visit,
Plaintiff's hernia was ultimately reduced, and was easily
reduced on most occasions. In addition, on January 17, 2011,
Plaintiff was provided with a hernia belt for support. (Doc.
48-2, p. 3). Also during this time, on September 19, 2012,
Plaintiff was transferred from Big Muddy Correctional Center
to Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”).
(Doc. 48-3, p. 2).
November 21, 2012, physicians Loftin and Haymes participated
in a collegial review regarding referring Plaintiff for an
evaluation of a surgical repair of his hernia. (Id.
at 2 - 3). According to Dr. Shah, these doctors discussed
that Plaintiff had a right inguinal hernia the size of a
tennis ball or a softball, and that Plaintiff complained of
worsening pain. (Id. at 3). The doctors also
discussed that the hernia could be reduced if Plaintiff was
relaxed with his legs slightly bent. (Id.). The
doctors decided on an alternative treatment method in favor
of conservative on-site management. (Id.).
November 28, 2012 to February 20, 2013 Plaintiff presented to
healthcare providers for his hernia three more times.
(See Id. at 3 - 4). During this time Plaintiff
complained that his hernia had been “popping out”
more frequently, he became nauseated, and Dr. Loftin noted
the hernia was slower to reduce. (Id. at 3). On
February 27, 2013, Dr. Loftin and Dr. Garcia discussed
Plaintiff's hernia during a collegial, and Plaintiff was
approved for a surgical evaluation of his hernia.
(Id. at 4).
March 21, 2013, Plaintiff was seen at Carle Hospital for a
surgical consultation with Dr. Kimberly Cradock. Plaintiff
reported that while his hernia used to spontaneously reduce,
it did not do so any longer. (Id. at 4). He
complained of pain in his right groin which was exacerbated
with motion and coughing. (Id.). Plaintiff stated
that his hernia sometimes reduced on its own when he laid
supine at night, but that it would take the hernia 45 minutes
to reduce and had negligible effect on his pain. The doctor
noted the possibility that Plaintiff had a left inguinal
hernia as well. (Id.). She also noted that
Plaintiff's hernia was completely reducible.
(Id.). Dr. Cradock's recommendation was to
perform a laparoscopic right inguinal hernia repair, as well
as, possibly, a left inguinal hernia repair. (Doc. 48-1, p.
61). Though Dr. Cradock recommended surgery, on March 27,
2013, Drs. Loftin and Haymes denied approval for a surgery,
noting that Plaintiff's hernia was fully reducible during
his visit with the surgeon. (Doc. 48-3, p. 5). The doctors
decided to continue following Plaintiff's care on-site.
a month later, on April 29, 2013, Plaintiff presented to a
nurse with complaints of his hernia not reducing. The nurse
observed that Plaintiff's right testicle was red and
swollen. (Id.). He was placed on a bed, and his
hernia was reduced in 30 minutes. (Id.). On the same
evening, Plaintiff complained to a nurse that the area around
his hernia was sore where it was put back in, and that he was
sore more than usual. (Id.). The nurse explained
that Plaintiff's hernia was not currently strangulated,
but made sure he understood the signs and symptoms of a
strangulated hernia so that he could come to the healthcare
unit if such symptoms arose. (Id.).
3, 2013, a “code 3” medical emergency was called
to Plaintiff's housing unit. Plaintiff complained that
his hernia was out and was too sore to push back in.
(Id.). He indicated that his hernia had been worse
for the previous three weeks and that it “pops out all
the time.” (Id. at 6). Plaintiff did not try
to reduce his hernia due to the pain. Plaintiff was
encouraged to try to reduce the hernia, and a nurse called
Dr. Shah. (Id.). The doctor prescribed Vicodin
painkillers to be taken immediately and as needed for the
following 24 hours. (Id.). Dr. Shah saw Plaintiff
the next day in the infirmary. Plaintiff indicated that he
was feeling better, his hernia reduced, and that the swelling
was gone. (Id.). Dr. Shah discontinued
Plaintiff's Vicodin, prescribed Ibuprofen, and discharged
Plaintiff from the infirmary. (Id.).
May 6, 2013 and June 29, 2013 Plaintiff presented to medical
providers on four or five occasions with complaints relating
to his hernia. (See Id. at 7 - 8). In this time
period, Plaintiff had difficulty reducing his hernia, and on
at least one occasion, could only reduce his hernia by
bending his legs.
in October 2013, Plaintiff submitted a request to be seen by
Assistant Warden Brucart regarding issues with his hernia and
his eye. (Doc. 48-4, p. 30, 31). Plaintiff felt like he was
not getting his medical needs met. (Id. at 30).
During this meeting, Warden Brucart summoned Defendant Susan
Kerr who was the Healthcare Unit Administrator
(“HCUA”) at Robinson. (Id.). During this
meeting, Plaintiff stated that his hernia was getting
unbearable and that he was unable to walk. (Id. ...