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Rankin v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

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

August 5, 2019




         Plaintiff Swaysey Rankin, an inmate at Dixon Correctional Center, has brought this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Rankin alleges that Defendants Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), Saleh Obaisi, LaTanya Williams, Ann Davis, and Dr. Baker were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition, and that they intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him. Wexford, Williams, and Davis (hereinafter, “Defendants”) have moved for summary judgment.[1] For the reasons stated herein, the motion is granted.

         Background [2]

         The following facts are undisputed except where noted. Rankin, who is currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, was housed at Stateville Correctional Center from February 26, 2013 to February 25, 2015. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. (“Defs.' SOF”) ¶ 6, ECF No. 78. While there, he attended medical appointments with various providers, including Dr. Davis, a staff physician; Dr. Obaisi, the prison's medical director; and Williams, a physician's assistant. Id. ¶¶ 2-4.

         Rankin attended a “chronic clinic” appointment (for inmates with chronic conditions such as hypertension, which Rankin has) with Dr. Davis on April 3, 2013. Id. ¶¶ 3, 8. Rankin reported that he was feeling well and had no shortness of breath or edema. Id. ¶ 9. Dr. Davis concluded that Rankin's cholesterol level was good, his blood pressure was under control, and he should continue managing his hypertension with blood-pressure medication. Id. ¶ 11.

         Rankin next had a medical appointment on May 23, 2013, when he saw Williams. Id. ¶ 12. He complained of a rash on his head and neck and told Williams that he had previously had knee surgery. Id. Williams examined Rankin and concluded that his condition was within normal limits and that he was not in any acute distress. Id. She prescribed two medications to treat Rankin's rash and inflammation. Id. ¶ 13.

         Rankin had another appointment with Dr. Davis on July 19, 2013. Id. ¶ 15. At this appointment, Rankin reported that he had been taking his blood-pressure medication and denied having any chest pain, shortness of breath, or swelling. Id. Dr. Davis noted that Rankin's neurological exam was normal, that he had no swelling in his lower extremities, and that his blood chemistries were normal. Id. ¶ 17. She renewed his blood-pressure medications. Id.

         Several days later, on July 24, 2013, Williams prescribed Rankin clindamycin capsules. Id. ¶ 19. The prescription was not written at a patient visit, however; Williams did not see Rankin that day. Id., Ex. B (“Williams Dep.”) at 20:16-23:1, ECF No. 78-2.

         Rankin's next appointment was on November 18, 2013, when he saw Williams for a complaint of bumps on the back of his head, as well as a refill of his blood-pressure medication. Defs.' SOF ¶ 20. Williams examined Rankin and determined that his physical condition was within normal limits and that his heart and lung function was normal. Id. She concluded that he had folliculitis. Id. She planned for Rankin to have an appointment with the prison's medical director on December 26, 2013, and planned to submit a prescription for a refill of the blood-pressure medication. Id. ¶ 21. For Rankin's head, she prescribed two medications, as well as therapeutic shampoo. Id.

         Shortly thereafter, on November 27, 2013, Rankin had another appointment with Dr. Davis. Id. ¶ 23. Rankin reported no chest pain, shortness of breath, or swelling. Id. Dr. Davis renewed his blood-pressure medication and prescribed him loratadine (an allergy medication), Motrin, and triamcinolone cream for a rash. Id.

         Rankin had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi on December 26, 2013. Id. ¶ 25. At that time, Rankin complained of left-shoulder pain and knee pain and stated that he had difficulty climbing into the top bunk. Id. Dr. Obaisi concluded that Rankin had tendinitis and stiffness in his knee and shoulder. Id. ¶ 26. He planned for Rankin to receive medical permits for a low bunk and a waist chain. Id. Dr. Davis renewed these medical permits on January 11, 2014. Id. ¶ 27.

         Rankin next met with Williams on August 22, 2014, for a complaint of pain in his right knee. Id. ¶ 28. He indicated that he had been experiencing knee pain since 2008, and that he had previously had surgery on his right leg. Id. According to Rankin, he had worn a knee support while he was at the Cook County Jail. Id. He told Williams that taking weight off his right knee caused pain in his left knee, but that he was “good” with ice and Naprosyn for the pain. Id. Williams examined Rankin and noted that he was obese, well-developed, well-nourished, and in no acute distress; that his heart and lungs were normal; and that he had decreased range of motion in his right knee, as well as crepitus in his left knee. Id. ¶ 30. She assessed that Rankin had right-leg open reduction internal fixation, meaning that his leg had been repaired using hardware such as pins, rods, or screws. Id. ¶ 31. She issued Rankin a permit for ice, twice per day, for one month, and planned to order him a knee support. Id. ¶ 32.

         Rankin saw Dr. Obaisi on October 6, 2014, complaining of a swollen lip. Id. ¶ 33. Dr. Obaisi prescribed several medications for Rankin's lip. Id. When Rankin saw Dr. Obaisi again, approximately one month later, the issue with his lip had resolved. Id. ¶ 34.

         Rankin was transferred to Western Illinois Correctional Center on February 25, 2015. Id. ¶ 35. After arriving there, he complained to the medical director, Dr. Baker, that he was having trouble breathing. Id. ¶ 36. Dr. Baker ordered a sleep study for Rankin. Id. After undergoing the sleep study, Rankin was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was issued a CPAP machine, which alleviated his symptoms to a degree. Id. ¶¶ 37-38; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' SOF ¶ 38; Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 9.

         It is disputed whether, during Rankin's medical appointments with Dr. Davis and Williams at Stateville, Rankin told them that he had been experiencing any problems with his sleep. Rankin's medical records do not contain any mention of breathing problems during sleep. Defs.' SOF ¶ 47. Nonetheless, Rankin testified that he had informed Dr. Davis during his April 3, 2013, appointment “about [his] head and everything [he] was getting woke up out of [his] sleep.” Id., Ex. A (“Rankin Dep.”) at 63:1-4, ECF No. 78-1. By contrast, Dr. Davis testified ...

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