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Aguilarr v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 12, 2019

OMAR AGUILAR, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., SIDDIQUI, GAIL WALLS, ANELA CRAIN, LASHBROOK, RITZ, JOHN BALDWIN, FRANK LAWRENCE, LOUIS SHICKER, and ZIMMER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Staci M. Yandle, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Omar Aguilar, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges Defendants were deliberately indifferent to an infection in his kidneys; he asserts claims against them under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and has also filed a motion for TRO/Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. 2).

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 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 asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint: Since January or February 2018, Plaintiff has suffered from pain in the left side of his abdomen. The pain keeps him from sleeping and causes him headaches and back pain. (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff also has burning sensations and swelling in his hands and feet. (Id.). Plaintiff has seen Dr. Siddiqui on at least six different occasions between February 2018 and April 2019 and explained to him that the current pain medication is not helping, but Dr. Siddiqui refuses to provide him with any medication stronger than Tylenol, ibuprofen, and other over the counter pain relievers because Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) will not authorize stronger pain medication due to cost concerns. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5, 6, 15).

         Plaintiff complained that his left side hurt near his kidneys, that it hurt when he urinated, and that his urine was strong smelling. (Doc. 1, p. 12). He was initially diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (“UTI”) by Dr. Siddiqui and Nurse Practitioner Zimmer (“NP”) and provided antibiotics for the infection. (Id. at pp. 12, 17). Although Plaintiff was later told that the infection was no longer showing up on tests, he continued to suffer pain in his kidneys, pain while urinating, and strong-smelling urine. (Id.). Plaintiff continued to suffer from pain after the antibiotic treatment, but Dr. Siddiqui, NP Zimmer, Crain, Dr. Ritz, and Walls began ignoring his complaints of pain and refused to see him or send him to a specialist. (Id. at p. 17). They believed he was lying about his pain and sent him to mental health staff for anxiety. (Id. at pp. 17-18). As a result, Plaintiff continued to suffer pain in his left side due to lack of treatment. He was eventually diagnosed with pyelonephritis (a kidney infection). (Id. at p. 18). Even after the diagnosis, he was denied a request to be treated by a specialist. (Id.). Dr. Siddiqui, Dr. Ritz, NP Zimmer, Walls, and Crain failed to address Plaintiff's condition in a timely fashion and he eventually developed prostatitis, which can result from a bacterial infection that spreads to the prostate. (Id. at pp. 19, 21). They continued with an ineffective course of treatment and, as a result, Plaintiff continues to suffer from pain in his left side and burning and swelling in his hands and feet. (Id. at pp. 19-20). Due to Wexford's policy of treating inmates like a nuisance and liars, the medical staff assumed he was lying. (Id. at pp. 12-13). Plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress due to Defendants' actions and was referred to mental health professionals at the prison by healthcare staff.

         Plaintiff wrote letters and grievances to John Baldwin, Dr. Louis Shicker, Lashbrook, and Gail Walls, but they refused to investigate his claims of inadequate care. (Id. at pp. 8-10, 15-16). They were also aware of systemic problems with the healthcare unit through Plaintiff's and other inmate's grievances and lawsuits, but they ignored the complaints. (Id. at pp. 9-10). Plaintiff notified Dr. Siddiqui, Gail Walls, Angela Crain, Dr. Ritz, Dr. Shicker, Baldwin, Lashbrook, Frank Lawrence, Hillerman, and NP Zimmer of the pain in his left side on numerous occasions. (Id. at p. 16).

         Plaintiff further alleges that the inappropriate care that he received for his kidney infection is a result of several other Wexford policies. Wexford has a policy and practice of understaffing the healthcare unit, providing improper training, and of instructing its employees to view inmate's claims as false. As a result, a number of Plaintiff's sick call requests were ignored and when he did finally see the doctor, his complaints of pain were ignored because they believed he was lying. (Id. at pp. 4, 7). Plaintiff also alleges that improper training led to misdiagnosis of his condition as a UTI. (Id. at pp. 12-13). Wexford also has a policy of cancelling call passes when the institution is on lockdown which prevented Plaintiff from receiving care on numerous occasions. (Id. at pp. 22-23). He also alleges that Baldwin, Lashbrook, Lawrence, and Shicker were aware of systemic problems with the healthcare at Menard, including overcrowding at Menard and understaffing of the healthcare unit but failed to remedy the issues, causing Plaintiff to be denied access to the healthcare unit when his call passes were cancelled. (Id. at pp. 27-28).

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following Counts:

Count 1: Dr. Siddiqui, Gail Walls, Angela Crain, Lashbrook, Dr. Ritz, John Baldwin, Frank Lawrence, Dr. Louis Shicker, and NP Zimmer were deliberately indifferent in the treatment of Plaintiff's kidney infection in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 2: Wexford Health Sources, Inc. was deliberately indifferent in maintaining policies that led to Plaintiff not receiving timely, appropriate care in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 3: Dr. Siddiqui, Gail Walls, Angela Crain, Lashbrook, Dr. Ritz, John Baldwin, Frank Lawrence, Dr. Louis Shicker, NP Zimmer, and Wexford's failure to provide him with appropriate care amounted to intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Count 4: Baldwin, Lashbrook, Lawrence, Shicker, and Wexford were deliberately indifferent to overcrowding at Menard which caused delays in Plaintiff's treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that is mentioned in theComplaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed ...


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