United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE District Judge.
Brandon Sago, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
violations of his constitutional rights at
Menard. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff has
been denied medical treatment for injuries that resulted from
an old gunshot wound in his left arm. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-11).
Plaintiff now sues the defendants for violating his Eighth
Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
(Doc. 1, p. 11). He seeks declaratory judgment, monetary
damages and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff
also requests a preliminary injunction requiring the
defendants to send him to an outside specialist for further
evaluation and treatment. Id.
case is now before the Court for 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
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 in the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
alleges that the defendants have denied him medical care for
an old gunshot wound in his left arm since 2014. (Doc. 1, pp.
1-11). A bony protrusion from Plaintiff's left elbow has
allegedly caused nerve damage and pain that requires surgery.
Id. Because surgery has been denied, Plaintiff's
condition has deteriorated. Id. He suffers from
numbness, pain and loss of movement in his left arm, hand and
first requested treatment for the injury when he arrived at
Menard on March 27, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Despite his
complaints of serious pain at that time, Plaintiff was not
seen by a nurse or doctor until June or July. Id.
When he finally met with an unknown nurse (“Nurse Jane
Doe 1”), Plaintiff told her about his 2011 gunshot
wound. Id. He stated that the injury never healed
properly, and a “big piece of bone” still
protruded from his elbow. Id. He reported that it
not only caused nerve damage and pain that prevented him from
sleeping and exercising, but it also prevented him from
straightening his arm. Id.
examining Plaintiff, Nurse Doe 1 said that she could do
nothing for him. Id. She stated that he needed
surgery. Id. However, she would not refer him to an
outside specialist or hospital because his injury was not
life-threatening. Id. Plaintiff was escorted from
the nurse's office without a referral or any pain
medication. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He filed a grievance and
submitted numerous sick call slips but received no response
to them. Id.
weeks later, Plaintiff met with another unknown nurse
(“Jane Doe 2”) to discuss his treatment options.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). Nurse Doe 2 responded to Plaintiff in the
same manner as Nurse Doe 1. Id. In addition, she
explained that Menard was not responsible for treating the
injury because it did not occur at the prison. Id.
Nurse Doe 2 nevertheless referred Plaintiff to the
prison's doctor for further evaluation and provided him
with a low dose of ibuprofen for his pain. Id. The
ibuprofen was ineffective. Id.
waited a month to see an unknown doctor (“John Doe
1”). (Doc. 1, p. 6). The doctor ordered an x-ray of
Plaintiff's left arm and concluded that he needed
surgery. Id. However, Doctor Doe 1 informed
Plaintiff that surgery would do nothing for him. Id.
Moreover, because his injury was not life-threatening, the
doctor would not refer Plaintiff for further evaluation or
treatment with an outside specialist. Id. Doctor Doe
1 told Plaintiff that his arm “w[ould] be this way for
the rest of [Plaintiff's] life, ” and he
“would just have to deal with it.” Id.
Plaintiff filed additional grievances, the prison grievance
officer (“Jane Doe 3”) referred him for a second
appointment with Doctor Doe 1 on or around September 2014.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Doctor Doe 1 referred Plaintiff for an
appointment with Doctor Trost. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). After
examining Plaintiff's arm and reviewing his x-rays,
Doctor Trost agreed with Doctor Doe 1. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Doctor
Trost informed Plaintiff that nothing could be done for the
old injury and that a referral request would likely be denied
because his injury was not life-threatening. Id.
Even so, Doctor Trost submitted a request on Plaintiff's
behalf for treatment with an outside specialist. Id.
The physician who reviewed the request, Doctor Ritz, denied
it and recommended additional monitoring and treatment if
Plaintiff's symptoms worsened. Id.
nearly a year, Plaintiff complained of additional symptoms
and increasing pain in grievances and notes to Doctor Trost.
(Doc. 1, p. 7). He explained that his pain medication was
ineffective. Id. Although he was given a slightly
higher dose of pain medication, it still did not work.
Id. He also complained of increasing left arm
numbness, loss of dexterity, and loss of sleep. (Doc. 1, pp.
7-8). Plaintiff was not scheduled for a follow-up appointment
and received no response to his written requests for
citing these symptoms in sick call requests in December 2016
and/or January 2017, Plaintiff was finally scheduled for
another appointment with Doctor Trost in January or February
2017. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Doctor Trost ordered another x-ray of
Plaintiff's left arm. Id. The x-ray revealed a
large bony protrusion in his left arm. Id. The
doctor indicated that his condition had gotten worse, and he
was also suffering from arthritis. Id. Doctor Trost
explained that Plaintiff's elbow would likely need to be
re-broken in order to remove the bony protrusion and
reconstruct his arm. Id. The doctor submitted
another referral request on Plaintiff's behalf.
Id. Once again, Doctor Ritz denied the request, and
Doctor Matticks recommended continued monitoring of
Plaintiff's condition. (Doc. 1, p. 8; Doc. 1-1, p. 2).
Plaintiff filed a grievance to challenge this decision but
received no response. Id.
February 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance
with Warden Jacqueline Lashbrook. (Doc. 1, p. 9). The warden
agreed that his situation presented an emergency and referred
the matter to Grievance Officer Kelly Pierce for further
investigation. (Id.; Doc. 1-1, pp. 10-11). Grievance
Officer Pierce recommended that the grievance be denied as
moot because of Plaintiff's on-going treatment for the
filed a second emergency grievance with Warden Lashbrook on
March 22, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 9). He complained about his
continued lack of treatment for the same medical issues.
Id. Warden Lashbrook deemed this grievance to be a
non-emergency. (Id.; Doc. 1-1, pp. 14-15).
Plaintiff's attempts to appeal this decision to the
Administrative Review Board were unsuccessful. (Doc. 1, pp.
9-10). Warden Lashbrook also reviewed a third emergency
grievance from Plaintiff dated September 12, 2017 and
declared it a non-emergency on September 21, 2017. (Doc. 1,
November 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed a fourth emergency
grievance to complain about the loss of feeling in his
fingers for two days, during which time his arm was stuck in
the same position. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Warden Lashbrook again
declared the grievance to be a non-emergency. (Doc. 1, pp.
18-19). Nursing Director Holly Hawkin and Medical Director
Siddiqui reviewed Plaintiff's file and scheduled him for