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Vilayhong v. Santos

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 7, 2019

MANITH VILAYHONG, #M17024, Plaintiff,
v.
BENERIO SANTOS, and LANA NALEWAJKA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Manith Vilayhong, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In the First Amended Complaint, [1] Plaintiff claims he has been denied adequate medical care for chronic bilateral ear infections and thrush by Centralia's physician (Doctor Santos) and health care unit administrator (Nurse Nalewajka). (Doc. 14, pp. 1-25; Doc. 14-1, pp. 1-90). He seeks declaratory judgment, money damages, and injunctive relief in the form of a referral to an ear, nose, and throat (“ENT”) specialist. (Doc. 14, p. 12). In August 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 10) and Supplement (Doc. 12) in which he complains of ongoing symptoms of infection and pain and requests interim relief. The Court will therefore take up this matter without delay. Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 680 (7th Cir. 2012).

         The First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a Complaint that is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations are liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         First Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 14, pp. 1-25; Doc. 14-1, pp. 1-90): Plaintiff suffers from chronic bilateral middle ear infections.[2] (Doc. 14, p. 4). Antibiotic treatment for the infections caused him to develop thrush[3] in his ears, mouth, and possibly esophagus. (Id.). He continues to suffer from both conditions. (Id.).

         Plaintiff began complaining of increased ear pressure, distorted hearing, vertigo, tinnitus, and pain on January 17, 2019. (Id. at p. 5). Doctor Santos and Nurse Nalewajka acknowledged the seriousness of his ear infection in late January 2019. (Id.). They nevertheless waited 71 days before swabbing Plaintiff's ears in an effort to diagnose and treat the infection. (Id. at p. 6). In the meantime, they ignored his complaints of pain and insisted he was fine. (Id.).

         Doctor Santos did not begin treating the ear infections until April 4, 2019, when he prescribed several rounds of antibiotics that proved ineffective. (Id.). They also caused Plaintiff to develop thrush, which was treated unsuccessfully with probiotics. (Id. at p. 7). Plaintiff's symptoms persisted, but the medical providers told Plaintiff his infections were gone in early June 2019. (Id. at p. 8). When Plaintiff's grandmother requested treatment on Plaintiff's behalf, Doctor Santos and Nurse Nalewajka simply turned a blind eye to his medical conditions. In early July, 2019, Nurse Jane Doe and Doctor Meyer met with Plaintiff and agreed that neither condition was resolved. (Id. at p. 10). Plaintiff still exhibited symptoms of bilateral ear infections and thrush. (Id.). Doctor Meyer took swabs and submitted a request for an ENT referral. (Id.). Plaintiff was still waiting to hear the results on July 8, 2019, just before filing this action. (Id.).

         Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Supplement

         In a Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed August 2, 2019, Plaintiff explains that he was diagnosed with a Candida infection sometime after July 8, 2019. (Doc. 10). The infection has grown worse. (Id.). He transferred to the HCU for intravenous treatment with Fortaz. (Id. at p. 1). Doctor Santos nevertheless cancelled the request for an ENT referral and told Plaintiff that “collegial” denied it as unnecessary. (Id. at p. 2). When Plaintiff pointed out that he suffers from Staph and Candida, Doctor Santos disagreed until Plaintiff showed the doctor his medical records. Doctor Santos then “downplayed” the significance of these infections but admitted that Plaintiff probably developed a resistance to antibiotic treatment. However, instead of administering a blood test to determine the scope of the infections and best course of treatment, Doctor Santos told Plaintiff to just “deal” with his symptoms of pain and hearing distortions/loss. (Id.).

         In a Motion to Supplement filed August 5, 2019, Plaintiff adds that he was discharged from Centralia's HCU on July 30, 2019 and continues to experience excruciating ear pain. (Doc. 12, pp. 1-2). He provides additional medical records to support his request for a referral to an ENT for proper diagnosis and treatment of both conditions. (Doc. 12-1, pp. 1-10).

         Based on the allegations in the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single count at issue in this pro se action:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Doctor Santos and Nurse Nalewajka for delaying or denying Plaintiff adequate medical care for his chronic bilateral ear infections and thrush in 2019.

         Any other claim that is mentioned in the First Amended Complaint but not addressed hereinshould be considered dismissed without ...


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