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McDougall v. Gerst

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 6, 2019

CARLOS DE'ANDRE MCDOUGAL, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. LARSON and GARY GERST, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          HON. REONA J. DALY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly by United States District Judge Staci M. Yandle pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the Motion for Summary Judgment. It is RECOMMENDED that the District Court ADOPT the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 55) be GRANTED.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff Carlos McDougal, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”). Following threshold review, Plaintiff proceeds on the following Counts:

Count 1: Defendants showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical need involving pain in his hand, wrist, and arm in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing Plaintiff's medical condition was not “objectively serious” and Defendants did not act with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs. Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 69)[1] arguing Defendants have failed to adequately address the pain in his hand and wrist.

         Plaintiff has been incarcerated at Big Muddy since March, 2016 (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 56-1 at 14). Defendant Dennis Larson, M.D. was a licensed physician employed as the Medical Director at Big Muddy (Doc. 56-2 at 1). Defendant Gary Gerst, P.A., was a licensed physician's assistant employed at Big Muddy.

         On October 31, 2016, Plaintiff was seen by a nurse for complaints of pain and numbness in his left wrist and left hand, as well as for the complaint that his hand was “locking up” (Plaintiff's Medical Records, Doc. 56-2 at 18). The nurse ordered acetaminophen to treat Plaintiff's pain and referred him to Dr. Larson for further examination (Id.) On November 2, 2016, Larson examined Plaintiff for his complaints of pain and numbness and ordered x-rays of his left wrist and hand (Id. at 19-21). On November 8, 2016, an x-ray of Plaintiff's left hand was performed and the radiologist reported the x-ray revealed no acute displaced fracture and no dislocation or other unusual findings (Id. at 112).

         On November 15, 2016, Plaintiff reported to nurse sick call with complaints that his left wrist “just started locking up” (Doc. 56-2 at 22). The nurse ordered a cold pack and ibuprofen for Plaintiff's pain (Id.). On November 21, 2016, Plaintiff again reported to nurse sick call with complaints that he experienced difficulty moving the fourth and fifth digits of his left hand, and that he experienced pain at 8/10 on the pain scale (Id. at 23). The nurse ordered ibuprofen to treat the pain and instructed Plaintiff to keep his left hand elevated (Id.). On November 23, 2016, Plaintiff was seen by Gary Gerst, P.A. (Id. at 24). Gerst noted Plaintiff complained he was still having problems with his left hand locking up, that he was still experiencing pain in his left hand and wrist, and that Larson informed him the x-ray of the hand and wrist were “fine” (Id.). Gerst further discussed the results of the x-rays of Plaintiff's left wrist and hand, advised him to avoid any aggravating activity, prescribed ibuprofen for his pain, and scheduled him for evaluation by Larson for the purpose of getting a low bunk permit (Id.).

         On December 12, 2016, Larson examined Plaintiff on the referral by Gerst and Plaintiff complained of worsening pain in his left hand and stated that his hand hurt “all the time” (Doc. 56-2 at 25). Larson observed normal vital signs and that Plaintiff reported tenderness in his left hand and wrist upon palpation and extension (Id. at 25-27). Larson referred Plaintiff to physical therapy, prescribed a low bunk permit for four months, prescribed Motrin for pain, and scheduled him for follow up examination two weeks later (Id.). On December 21, 2016, Plaintiff was admitted to the infirmary for an unrelated condition (Id. at 28-47).

         On January 3, 2017, Larson saw Plaintiff to follow up on the previous appointment regarding the pain in his left hand and wrist (Id. at 48-49). Plaintiff complained of limited range of motion in his wrist (Id.). Larson scheduled him for a urinalysis (Id.). On January 16, 2017, Plaintiff reported to nurse sick call with a complaint of pain in his left wrist at level 7/10 (Id. at 50). The nurse ordered ibuprofen to treat Plaintiff's pain and made a physician referral (Id.). On January 18, 2017, Plaintiff was seen by Gerst on the nurse's referral (Id. at 51). Plaintiff reported that he did not have left wrist pain at that time (Id.). Gerst discussed the results of the x-rays and laboratory analysis, advised him on exercise and added salt to his diet (Id.).

         On January 31, 2017, Plaintiff reported to nurse sick call with complaints that about two months prior his left wrist “just started hurting” and reported a 6/10 pain level (Id. at 52). Plaintiff reported pain when he made a fist or bent his left wrist (Id.). The nurse noted Plaintiff already had an analgesic for pain and made a physician referral (Id.). On February 2, 2017, Plaintiff was seen by Gerst on the nurse's referral (Id. at 53). Gerst noted Plaintiff reported he was still having left wrist pain and had previously been prescribed physical therapy, pain medication, and a low bunk permit (Id.). Gerst recommended Plaintiff continue physical therapy and avoid any aggravating activity (Id.). Gerst also prescribed ibuprofen for the pain and scheduled Plaintiff to see a physician (Id.). On February 23, 2017, Larson saw Plaintiff and they discussed his physical therapy regimen (Id. at 57). Larson ordered another x-ray of Plaintiff's left wrist and scheduled him for a follow-up examination (Id.).

         On March 9, 2017, Dr. N. Yousef of One Radiology analyzed x-ray films of three views of Plaintiff's left wrist and found mild osteoarthritis of the radiocarpal joint (Id. at 110). Yousef reported no evidence of an acute bony fracture or dislocation (Id.). On April 13, 2017, Larson saw Plaintiff for a follow-up visit and Plaintiff reported he was still experiencing pain and that physical therapy had not helped (Id. at 59-60). Larson prescribed a low bunk permit for six months, and scheduled a collegial review to discuss referring Plaintiff to an orthopedic specialist for consultation (Id.).

         On April 18, 2017, during collegial review for a potential orthopedic consultation, it was noted Plaintiff was a 31-year-old man with complaints of increased pain, that x-rays had shown mild osteoarthritis of the radiocarpal joint, which appeared stable, and that there were no acute findings (Id. at 104). It was determined sending Plaintiff to an orthopedic specialist for a consultation was ...


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