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Miller v. Coe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 22, 2018

HARLEY T. MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN COE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Harley Miller, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was provided inadequate medical care when he was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). He proceeds against Defendant Dr. John Coe on a deliberate indifference claim for his alleged failure to properly diagnose and treat Miller's complaints of abdominal pain and rectal bleeding, and concerns regarding a mass on his testicle.

         Now pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 52). Plaintiff filed a response (Doc. 59).[1] For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Insofar as Plaintiff moves to strike Defendant's undisputed material facts for non-compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, his request is DENIED.

         Background

         Plaintiff Harley Miller was incarcerated at Lawrence from August 2013 to May 2016 (Second Amended Complaint, Doc. 46, ¶ 13). In June 2014, Miller began experiencing abdominal pain and rectal bleeding (Deposition of Harley Miller, Doc. 53-4 at 3). He was seen at nurse sick call for these complaints on June 17, 2014 (Doc. 53-1 at 1) and was referred to a doctor or nurse practitioner (Id.).

         Miller was examined by Nurse Practitioner Phillipe on June 19, 2014 and diagnosed with epigastric pain (Deposition of Dr. Coe, Doc. 53-3 at 12-13; Doc. 53-1 at 2). Phillipe prescribed Zantac and ordered a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and an H. Pylori test (Id.). The H. Pylori test indicated a borderline infection and Miller was prescribed antibiotics to treat the same (Doc. 53-3 at 14; Doc. 53-1 at 3, 39-40, 43).

         Dr. Coe first saw Miller for complaints of rectal bleeding on July 28, 2014 (Doc. 53-3 at 8; Doc. 53-1 at 4). He performed a physical examination and noted tenderness in Miller's right lower abdomen and anal canal (Doc. 53-3 at 8-9; Doc. 53-1 at 4). Miller's stools were black and his guaiac test (test for blood in the stool) was positive (Id.). Dr. Coe diagnosed Miller with an upper gastrointestinal (“GI”) bleed and prescribed him Prilosec (Doc. 53-3 at 9; Doc. 53-1 at 4). Dr. Coe ruled out diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and rectal polyps as the cause of Miller's rectal bleeding due to the color of the blood in his stools (Doc. 53-3 at 10).

         Following nurse sick call visits for complaints of abdominal pain and constipation on August 1, 2014 and August 2, 2014, Miller was placed in the infirmary for observation on Dr. Coe's orders (Doc. 53-3 at 17-18; Doc. 53-1 at 5-7). Dr. Coe also gave verbal orders to issue Milk of Magnesia (a laxative and antacid used to treat constipation), and Norco (an opioid medication for moderate to severe pain) for Miller (Doc. 53-3 at 18; Doc. 53-1 at 7). Miller had a large bowel movement on August 3, 2014 and was released from the infirmary that day (Doc. 53-3 at 19; Doc. 53-1 at 7).

         Miller next saw Dr. Coe on August 19, 2014, and again complained of rectal bleeding and abdominal pain (Doc. 53-3 at 20; Doc. 53-1 at 8). Dr. Coe noted that Miller's vital signs and iron levels were normal and that his weight and blood count were stable (Id.). Miller had minimal rectal pain during his exam and his guaiac was negative (Id.). Based on his examination, Dr. Coe suspected Miller had irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”) and prescribed Bentyl, 10 milligrams, four times per day for one month (Id.). Dr. Coe did not address Miller's complaints of rectal bleeding in light of his negative guaiac test (Id.).

         Miller saw Dr. Coe for a follow-up exam on September 19, 2014 (Doc. 53-3 at 21; Doc. 53-1 at 10). Dr. Coe noted that Miller was mistrustful of his medical care (Id.). Miller indicated that the Bentyl was effective at addressing his pain, but still complained of rectal bleeding (Id.). Dr. Coe found that he had a palpable mass in his left abdomen that was tender (Id.). He ordered a CBC, an iron profile, and Complete Metabolic Panel (“CMP”) to determine if there was a drop in Miller's blood count or iron level, which would indicate blood loss (Id., Doc. 53-3 at 22). He also prescribed Bentyl, 10 milligrams, four times per day for six months, and Fiberlax (Doc. 53-3 at 21; Doc. 53-1 at 10).

         Miller saw Dr. Coe again on October 15, 2014 for complaints of pain in his left lower abdomen (Doc. 53-3 at 23; Doc. 53-1 at 11). He reported that his bowel movements were normal and that the Bentyl was working, but he needed to take more than the prescribed amount to get relief (Doc. 53-3 at 23; Doc. 53-1 at 11). Dr. Coe noted that the labs ordered the previous month had not been completed, so he reordered them (Id.). He also increased Miller's Bentyl to 20 milligrams, three times per day for six months, and ordered an x-ray of Miller's abdomen (Id.).

         Dr. Coe followed up with Miller on October 23, 2014 (Doc. 53-3 at 25; Doc. 53-1 at 12). Miller was experiencing continued pain in his abdomen despite reporting that the Bentyl was working. Dr. Coe noted a palpable left elongated structure in his lower left quadrant that was mildly tender when pressed (Id.). He determined that the elongated structure was stool in Miller's colon after a review of his abdominal x-ray, and prescribed Enulose (a laxative) to treat his constipation (Doc. 53-3 at 25; Doc. 53-1 at 14). Miller's lab results, including his hemoglobin level and iron levels, were stable (Doc. 53-3 at 25; Doc. 53-1 at 13). Dr. Coe again concluded that Miller suffered from IBS with constipation (Id.).

         During a subsequent exam with Dr. Coe on December 16, 2014, Miller requested a consultation with a GI specialist (Doc. 53-3 at 29; Doc. 53-1 at 17). He was complaining of mild right abdominal pain with loose stools (Id.). Dr. Coe conducted a physical examination and again determined that Miller suffered from IBS (Id.). Miller was scheduled to be seen in a chronic care clinic in February 2015 for a blood draw, and Dr. Coe ordered that he undergo an H. Pylori, “sed rate”, and iron level test, and a CBC during that visit (Id.).

         On February 18, 2015, Miller was seen at nurse sick call for complaints of scrotal pain (Doc. 53-1 at 18). He indicated that the pain had been present for the last 12 days (Id.). The nurse noted that Miller's left testicle was tender and referred him to a doctor (Id.). Per the nurse's referral, Miller was seen by Dr. Coe on February 20, 2015 (Doc. 53-3 at 29; Doc. 53-1 at 19). Miller told Dr. Coe that he had suffered testicular pain since October 2014 and “put in multiple complaints” concerning the same (Id.). Dr. Coe reviewed Miller's chart and found no notation of any such complaints, but upon examination, noted ...


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