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Hudson v. Nwaobasi

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 24, 2018

JERRY L. HUDSON, SR., Y-28171, Plaintiff,
v.
SAMUEL NWAOBASI, ROBERT SHEARING, and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On July 6, 2018, Plaintiff Jerry L. Hudson, Sr., an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), filed this pro se action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims Defendants have exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, and he seeks monetary and injunctive relief (specific medical care and referral to a specialist).

         The Complaint (Doc. 1) is now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to Section 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief, must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). 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. 2009).

         The Complaint

         In November 2012, Plaintiff was very ill and had developed a large mass on his back. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Dr. Shearing told Plaintiff the mass was scar tissue and not cancerous. Id. Plaintiff was admitted to the infirmary, where he remained for five months, without a diagnosis or treatment. Id. During that time, Plaintiff was in severe pain and was rapidly losing weight. Id. Dr. Shearing prescribed nutritional drinks (because Plaintiff could not eat) and Prednisone. Id. Dr. Shearing also told Plaintiff the only thing he could do was try to make him comfortable. Id. Plaintiff was released from the infirmary in April 2013; by that time, he had lost 80 pounds and could not walk. Id.

         In August 2013, as Plaintiff's condition worsened, he requested a biopsy and x-rays. Id. Dr. Shearing denied his requests. Id. Instead, he directed Dr. Nwaobasi to surgically remove the mass, which was the size of a baseball. Id. According to Plaintiff, the surgery was performed in a room that was not properly sterilized and without anesthesia. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7) Plaintiff also claims that Dr. Nwaobasi is not a licensed surgeon and should not have performed the surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Following the surgery, Plaintiff claims he was “still sick, ” and he was told nothing more could be done. (Doc. 1, p. 7). In October 2014, Plaintiff was sent to an outside hospital for high calcium levels. Id. He remained there for three days and was told he “could have died.” Id. In December 2014, Plaintiff was sent to an outside hospital with congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Id. Plaintiff remained in this hospital for nine days and was in a coma for three of those days. Id. Plaintiff also claims that he was subsequently diagnosed with the following conditions: (1) sarcoidosis; (2) diabetes; (3) Hodgkin's lymphoma; (4) kidney disease; (5) heart disease; (6) back and shoulder problems; (7) pulmonary disease; and (8) bone cancer melanoma (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         According to Plaintiff, he is “still fighting” to get help for his medical needs. Id. Further, although he was approved to see an oncologist and a pulmonary doctor, no appointments have been scheduled, and, as of July 3, 2018, Plaintiff was still waiting to see one or more outside specialists. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 9). Plaintiff has submitted numerous grievances and requests to Dr. Siddique (not a defendant in this action) and Wexford. Id. Wexford has denied Plaintiff's requests. (Doc. 1, p. 6)

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into a single count.[1]

         Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for exhibiting deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs.

         Here, accepting Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, the Court finds that the Complaint states a colorable federal claim as to Dr. Shearing and Dr. Nwaobasi. The Complaint describes a serious medical condition (a baseball sized mass, severe pain, weight loss, and inability to eat or walk). See Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005); Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff also has alleged that Dr. Shearing and Dr. Nwaobasi responded with deliberate indifference to his medical condition. See e.g., Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 777-79 (7th Cir. 2015); Hayes v. Snyder, 546 F.3d 516, 522-24 (7th Cir. 2008); Guiterrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997).

         On the other hand, however, the Complaint fails to state a claim as to Wexford. Plaintiff does not identify a policy or present facts showing that a Wexford policy was the “moving force” behind any alleged constitutional violation. Wilson v. Cook Cty., 742 F.3d 775, 779 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Teesdale v. City of Chicago, 690 F.3d 829, 833 (7th Cir. 2012)).

         For these reasons, Count 1 shall receive further review as to Dr. Shearing and Dr. Nwaobasi. However, Count 1 shall be ...


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