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Page v. Obaisi

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

May 15, 2018

Duane Page (N-40950), Plaintiff,
Ghaliah Obaisi, Independent Executor of the Estate of Saleh Obaisi, et al., Defendants.


          Hon. Elaine E. Bucklo United States District Judge.

         In this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Duane Page, a prisoner in state custody, challenges treatment provided for a hand injury he sustained while playing basketball. Defendants Ghaliah Obaisi, Independent Executor of the Estate of Saleh Obaisi, Physician's Assistant LaTanya Williams, and Wexford Health Sources move for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted.


         I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

         Page is proceeding pro se.[1] Defendants thus served him with a “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment” (Dkt. 90) that explains how to respond properly to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1. Under the Court's Local Rules, a moving party must provide “a statement of material facts as to which [it] contends there is no genuine issue.” Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). “The opposing party is required to file ‘a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.'” Id. (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)).

         In response to Defendants' statement of facts, Page filed a comprehensive 31-page document entitled “Plaintiff's LR 56.1(b) Statement of Material Facts” that contains 47 paragraphs (not including subparagraphs) and attaches 249 pages of exhibits. (Dkt. 99). Because Page is proceeding pro se, the Court has interpreted his response generously and will construe it as favorably as the record and Local Rule 56.1 permit, to the extent that he has pointed to admissible evidence in the record that corresponds to Defendants' facts or could properly testify himself about the matters asserted. See Hanners v. Trent, 674 F.3d 683, 691 (7th Cir. 2012); Sistrunk v. Khan, 931 F.Supp.2d 849, 854 (N.D. Ill. 2013); Fed.R.Evid. 602. With this in mind, the court turns to the parties' Rule 56.1 submissions.

         II. Facts

         State prisoner Duane Page is incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center. Defs.' SOF, ¶ 1. Defendant LaTanya Williams is a physician's assistant who works at Stateville Correctional Center. Id., ¶ 2. Dr. Saleh Obaisi, who is deceased, was Stateville's Medical Director at the relevant time. Id., ¶ 3. Ghaliah Obaisi, Independent Executor of the Estate of Saleh Obaisi, has been substituted for Dr. Obaisi. Dkt. 117.

         On September 3, 2014, Page (who was forty-eight years old at the time) injured his right hand when he fell while playing basketball and used his hand to brace himself. Defs.' SOF, ¶ 7. Following his fall, Page told Certified Medical Technician Barnes that his right wrist was painful. Id., ¶ 8. Barnes noted a need to rule out wrist fracture, applied ice, and had Page transported to the prison's Health Care Unit (“HCU”) for evaluation. Id. Physician's Assistant LaTanya Williams evaluated Page after he arrived at the HCU. Id., ¶ 9. Page complained of a right wrist that was tender to palpation with decreased range of motion and strength but with sensation intact. Id. Williams determined that Page needed to be evaluated for a potential fracture, ordered an x-ray of the right hand/wrist, and told Page to return to the HCU after the x-ray had been taken. Id. She also provided a Toradol injection for pain, ordered an arm sling and ice, and prescribed Motrin for pain and inflammation. Id.

         Page received an x-ray the next day, September 4, 2014. Id., ¶ 10. Dr. Leef (a radiologist) interpreted the x-ray as showing oblique fractures in good position of the shafts of the third and fourth metacarpals (bones in the palm of the hand). Id. Based on these results, staff physician Dr. Martija ordered Page to be sent to the emergency room at Presence St. Joseph Hospital for evaluation and management of a fracture and an orthopedic consult. Id., ¶ 11. At the emergency room, medical staff recommended a splint, gave one to Page, and advised him to ice and elevate the affected area, take pain medication as necessary, and follow up with an orthopedist or hand doctor. Id., ¶ 12. A nurse contacted Dr. Obaisi, who ordered Motrin for pain relief, as well as a temporary low bunk permit. Id., ¶ 13.

         Page's medical records show that as of September 12, 2014, he was waiting for an outside appointment, and that he was scheduled to see a Wexford physician on September 15, 2014. Id. On September 15, 2014, Dr. Obaisi obtained Wexford's approval, via collegial review, of an external orthopedic evaluation for Page. Id., ¶ 14. Security staff could not bring Page for his internal September 15, 2014 appointment due to a level 4 lockdown so the appointment was rescheduled to September 22, 2014. Id.

         In the meantime, Page had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi on September 16, 2014; this was the first time Dr. Obaisi saw Page's hand injury. Id., ¶ 15. At that time, Page was wearing a soft cast. Id. Dr. Obaisi told Page to continue to wear the soft cast and requested a follow-up visit in two weeks to evaluate the fractures to the third and fourth metacarpals. Id. On September 16, 2014, Wexford staff emailed an appointment request for an outpatient visit with the orthopedics department at University of Illinois Hospital (“UIC”). Id. Page argues that Dr. Obaisi did not follow up to ensure that he was able to attend the outside appointment.[2] Id., ¶ 14. Page had been scheduled for another appointment with Dr. Obaisi on September 22, 2014, but on that date, security staff was again unable to bring him to his appointment due to another level 4 lockdown.[3]Id., ¶ 17.

         On September 23, 2014, there was an institutional shakedown at Stateville. Id., ¶ 18. According to Page, during the shakedown, correctional officers removed his soft cast, threw it out, and cuffed his hands behind his back. Id. Later that same day, Page told a correctional medical technician that security staff had taken his soft cast. Id., ¶ 19. This information was transmitted to Williams, who consulted with Dr. Obaisi, who ordered another x-ray of Page's right hand and directed staff to apply another cast. Id.; Dkt. 99, ¶ 19. Williams ordered Page to return to the HCU to see Dr. Obaisi after his x-ray; Page insists that she did not “immediately” apply another cast. Id.

         Page had the follow up x-ray on September 24, 2014. Dkt. 86, ¶ 20. The radiologist, Dr. Leef, interpreted the x-ray and opined that the oblique fractures to the third and fourth metacarpals were “in good position.” Id. Dr. Obaisi saw Page later that day and noted the x-ray showed no displacement. Id. During that appointment, Dr. Obaisi examined Page and noted that Page was able to move his fingers and wrist well.[4] Dkt. 86, ¶ 20. Dr. Obaisi had a fiberglass splint made with Page's hand and wrist fixed in it and requested a follow-up appointment in two weeks. Id.

         Page's sister retained Dr. Chen (an outside doctor recommended by the emergency room doctors who saw Page immediately after his accident), who subsequently reviewed the September 24, 2014 x-ray. According to Dr. Chen, that x-ray showed “[m]iminal displacement.” Dkt. 99, Ex. 16, pg. 139. In his declaration, however, Page asserts that Dr. Chen told his sister that the metacarpals had been “shoved backwards” in a manner that caused “severe permanent damage.” Dkt. 99, Ex. 19, ¶ 42.

         On September 30, 2014, Williams refilled Page's prescription for Motrin based on a message she received from him stating that he had run out of pain medication. Dkt. 86, ¶ 21. This was Williams' last interaction with Page about his hand injury. Id., ¶ 22.

         On October 1, 2014, Page had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi to track the progress of the fractures to his right hand. Id., ¶ 23. Page's soft splint and a wrap were in place. Id. To monitor healing of the fractures, Dr. Obaisi requested another x-ray to the right hand in 10 days with another follow-up in two weeks. Id. Due to a series of lockdowns, Page returned to see Dr. Obaisi on October 27, 2014. Id., ¶ 24. The requested x-ray had not been completed. Id. There were no acute findings, and the splint remained in place. Id. Dr. Obaisi again ordered an x-ray of the right hand and requested follow-up in one week. Id.

         The requested x-ray of the right hand took place on October 29, 2014. Id., ¶ 25. Dr. Leef interpreted the x-ray as showing “relative early callus at healing fractures of shafts of 3, 4 metacarpals with some angulation at the base of 4th metacarpal.” Id., citing Dkt. 86-4 at ¶ 414. Page returned to see Dr. Obaisi on November 10, 2014. Id., ¶ 26. During this appointment, Dr. Obaisi evaluated the condition of his right hand and his dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Dr. Obaisi opined that Page's hand was continuing to heal and ordered follow up as necessary. Id. Page saw a medical technician on December 22, 2014, and ...

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