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Campbell v. Obaisi

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 23, 2018

CHARLES W. CAMPBELL, Plaintiff,
v.
GHALIAH OBAISI, the Independent Executor of the Estate of Saleh Obaisi, [1] and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCE, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARA L.ELLIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Charles W. Campbell, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), suffers from lower back pain. He filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against Defendants Dr. Saleh Obaisi, now deceased, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), alleging that Dr. Obaisi and Wexford exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendants seek summary judgment on Campbell's claims. Because Campbell cannot establish that Dr. Obaisi acted with deliberate indifference to his lower back condition, the Court grants summary judgment for the executor of Dr. Obaisi's estate. Similarly, because Campbell has not established a question of fact as to whether Wexford's alleged practice of scheduling outside referrals based on the urgency of the inmate's medical condition caused him harm, the Court grants summary judgment for Wexford.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         Campbell is a sixty-three year old inmate housed at Stateville. Dr. Obaisi, now deceased, served as the medical director at Stateville during the relevant time period. Wexford, a private corporation that has contracted with the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide medical services to inmates at Stateville, was his employer.

         On October 1, 2013, during a medical evaluation with Dr. Obaisi, Campbell complained of lower back pain. Dr. Obaisi prescribed Campbell Mobic 7.5 mg and Protonix 40 mg, both to be taken twice a day for two months. During a follow-up visit on February 20, 2014, Dr. Obaisi diagnosed Campbell with chronic low back pain radiating to his right leg. Dr. Obaisi ordered an x-ray of the lumbar spine and gave Campbell a Depo-Medrol 80 mg injection. Campbell had the x-ray on February 27, 2014, which revealed degeneration of the L4-L5 disc. At a follow-up appointment on April 17, 2014, Dr. Obaisi prescribed two tablets of Tylenol #3 with codeine to be taken twice a day for thirty days. Campbell did not show up for his next appointment with Dr. Obaisi on April 28, but Dr. Obaisi did submit a request that day to send Campbell to UIC for an orthopedic evaluation. Wexford approved that request. On May 12, Dr. Obaisi prescribed Campbell Mobic 7.5 mg to be taken twice a day for ninety days and two tablets of Tylenol #3 with codeine to be taken twice a day for sixty days. Dr. Obaisi also told Campbell that Wexford approved him for an orthopedic evaluation at UIC.

         Campbell again saw Dr. Obaisi on July 15, complaining of pain in his right lumbar area. Dr. Obaisi gave Campbell a Depo-Medrol 80 mg injection and prescribed Mobic 7.5 mg and two tablets of Tylenol #3 with codeine, both to be taken to be taken twice a day for ninety days. Dr. Obaisi noted in Campbell's medical records that Campbell was still waiting for his orthopedic consultation. Several months later, on November 11, Campbell again saw Dr. Obaisi with complaints of lower back pain. Dr. Obaisi prescribed Campbell Naproxen 500 mg, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, to take twice a day for four months, and scheduled him for a steroid injection. Because Campbell still had not been called by UIC for his orthopedic consultation, Dr. Obaisi submitted a second request, noting that Campbell had already received approval in April 2014. Wexford again approved the request on November 18. That same day, Campbell received the ordered steroid injection of Depo-Medrol 80 mg, at which time Dr. Obaisi also again prescribed Tylenol #3 with codeine for fourteen days.

         On February 3, 2015, Campbell saw Dr. Obaisi and complained of pain in his right lower back and hip. Dr. Obaisi prescribed Robaxin 500 mg to be taken twice a day for thirty days. Dr. Obaisi also told Campbell that his orthopedic evaluation at UIC had finally been scheduled. On March 13, Campbell was sent to UIC for that evaluation with Dr. Anis Mekhail, who recommended that Campbell obtain an MRI of his lumbar spine.

         Dr. Obaisi testified that UIC handled the scheduling of outside referrals and so the delay in sending Campbell to UIC for his orthopedic evaluation was attributable to UIC's scheduling department. Dr. Obaisi's understanding was that UIC triages requests for appointments based on their urgency. Although he acknowledged that he sometimes would have his secretary contact a liaison at UIC, Barbara Johnson, concerning scheduling delays, and thought he may have called UIC about Campbell's initial appointment, he did not have any documentation to support such calls in this case. Dr. Obaisi testified that, of all referrals he made to UIC, the most common were those to the orthopedic department.

         Acting on Dr. Mekhail's recommendation, on March 16, Dr. Obaisi submitted a request to have Campbell sent to UIC for an MRI and follow-up, which Wexford approved on March 19.

         Campbell saw Dr. Obaisi on March 23, and he had an MRI of his lumbar spine at UIC on May 12. On May 18, Campbell saw Dr. Obaisi again, who issued him a permit to use a crutch for ninety days. Several days later, on May 22, Campbell returned to UIC for an orthopedic evaluation with Dr. Gary Edwards. Campbell's MRI showed a central L4-L5 disk herniation and L3-L4 severe right-sided neural foraminal stenosis with multilevel degenerative changes. Dr. Edwards recommended physical therapy for six to eight weeks and a follow-up appointment in two months to evaluate Campbell's progress. Dr. Obaisi sought approval for the orthopedic follow-up on June 1. And Campbell attended approximately ten physical therapy appointments between June 9 and July 27.

         On July 7, Dr. Obaisi gave Campbell a Toradol 60 mg injection for his complaints of significant back pain. Campbell testified that the Toradol shots helped alleviate his back pain. But Campbell again complained of back pain to Dr. Obaisi on August 18, at which time Dr. Obaisi prescribed Mobic 7.5 mg and two tablets of Tylenol #3 with codeine for ninety days. On September 21, Dr. Obaisi resubmitted his request to have Campbell seen for a follow-up orthopedic consultation at UIC, which Wexford approved on October 5. On December 1, Campbell again presented to Dr. Obaisi with complaints of back pain. Dr. Obaisi continued the Tylenol #3 with codeine and Mobic prescriptions for another ninety days and also gave Campbell a Toradol 60 mg injection.

         On May 13, 2016, Campbell finally returned to UIC for an orthopedic follow-up with Dr. Mekhail, who recommended that Campbell be sent to a pain clinic for a possible epidural steroid injection. Dr. Mekhail also recommended a neurology consultation for possible neuropathy. Dr. Obaisi submitted requests on May 17 to send Campbell to UIC for both pain clinic and neurology consultations. Wexford approved both requests on May 26. Meanwhile, on May 19, Dr. Obaisi prescribed more pain medicine for Campbell, continuing his prescription of Tylenol #3 with codeine for another six months.

         On September 7, Campbell went to UIC for a pain clinic evaluation with Dr. Khalid Malik, who recommended giving Campbell a lumbar epidural steroid injection, which he provided that day, and increasing Campbell's prescription of gabapentin to 300 mg three times a day. On September 13, Dr. Obaisi submitted a request to send Campbell back to UIC for a pain clinic follow-up, which Wexford approved on September 21. On November 16, Dr. Obaisi again refilled Campbell's Tylenol #3 with codeine prescription for another three months.

         On December 8, Campbell had his neurology consultation at UIC with Dr. Neelofer Shafi, who diagnosed Campbell with neuropathy. Dr. Shafi provided a prescription for an additional crutch and suggested physical therapy for a gait assessment. On December 13, Dr. Obaisi issued Campbell a four-month medical permit for two crutches. Campbell testified that he had requested a second crutch for almost a year, but Dr. Obaisi did not recall ever receiving such a request ...


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