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Dent v. Burrell

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 15, 2019

CHARLES DENT, Plaintiff,



         Pending before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty (Doc. 201), which recommends the undersigned grant the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Harry Allard, Sherry Benton, Jeffery Dennison, Stephen Engler, Deda Millis, Karen Smoot (“IDOC Defendants”) (Doc. 180) and grant in part and deny in part the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Thomas Burrell and Alfonso David (“Wexford Defendants”) (Doc. 182). Both Plaintiff Charles Dent and the Wexford Defendants filed timely objections to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 202, 203). For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation in part, respectfully rejects it in part, and grants summary judgment to all Defendants.


         A. Dr. Alfonso David

         Plaintiff Charles Dent is an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections. In May 2016, Dent was transferred to Shawnee Correctional Center from Big Muddy Correctional Center (Doc. 183-3 at p. 7). On May 10, 2016, a nurse at Big Muddy filled out an Offender Health Status Transfer Summary in which it was noted that Dent had a history of migraines (Doc. 183-5 at p. 114). Two days later, an intake nurse at Shawnee completed an intake chart review, which noted no chronic medical conditions and no medical referrals (Id. at p. 115). In the section for “Other Referrals/Interventions, ” the note stated “Buspar 20 mg PO" MS thru 9/7/16.” It then listed Defendant Dr. Alfonso David's name and his signature, which Dr. David attested meant he had reviewed the intake note and recommendation (Doc. 183-2 at p. 11).

         The first time Dent's history of migraines appears in his medical records after his transfer to Shawnee was on July 16, 2016, when a nurse noted that Dent self-reported having chronic migraines and an Excedrin prescription that had run out (Doc. 183-5 at p. 118). The nurse prescribed acetaminophen 325 mg for Dent to use as needed for pain (Id.).

         On August 9, 2016, Dr. David reviewed Dent's chart and recommended that Dent continue to use over-the-counter medications and continue treatment protocols as needed (Id. at p. 121). On August 19, 2016, Dent was seen by another physician, Dr. Coe (Id. at p. 121). The medical record from that visit includes a note that, “per HCUA, ” Dent suffered from chronic migraines and requested Excedrin (Id.). Dr. Coe educated Dent on migraines, prescribed Excedrin Migraine, and referred Dent to see Dr. David for follow-up (Id.). He also suggested a few different medications for Dent's chronic migraines (Id.).

         On September 12, 2016, Dr. David examined Dent based on Dr. Coe's referral (Id. at p. 122). Dent subjectively reported experiencing chronic migraines on his right side one to two times per week, the pain from which are relieved by Excedrin (Id.; Doc. 183-2 at ¶ 18). Based on Dent's subjective complaints and Dr. David's evaluation, Dr. David determined that Dent experienced chronic migraine headaches and prescribed Excedrin Migraine for two months with three refills (Id.).

         Dr. David attested that he was not made aware of Dent's requests for Excedrin Migraine until he saw Dent for the first time in September 2016 (Doc. 183-2 at ¶ 17). Dent testified, however, that he sent Dr. David “a couple letters and requests asking him to renew” his Excedrin prescription for his migraines, but he never received a response (Doc. 183-3 at p. 31). Dent further disputes Dr. David's testimony that he was not aware of Dent's history of migraines when Dr. David attested that he reviewed Dent's medical records and completed a chart review on August 9, 2016.

         B. Dr. Thomas Burrell

         Dr. Thomas Burrell, a licensed dentist employed at Shawnee Correctional Center, examined Dent for tooth pain in the area of tooth #31 on July 15, 2016 (Doc. 183-1 at ¶¶ 3, 11). Dent informed Dr. Burrell at that visit that he has a history of periodontal disease and has had 15 teeth extracted (Doc. 183-3 at p. 20). During the examination, Dr. Burrell observed that tooth #31 was moving, which is an indication of periodontal disease (Doc. 183-4 at p. 18). He also noticed that the gums around the tooth appeared to be infected (Doc. 203-1 at ¶ 11). Dr. Burrell testified that severe tooth mobility means the tooth needs to be extracted (Doc. 183-4 at p. 18). He further testified that there was no need to do percussion testing-a test performed to determine whether a root canal is feasible-because the tooth was moving (Id.).

         Although there was an infection present, Dr. Burrell testified that Dent did not have an abscess (Doc. 203-1 at ¶ 11; Doc. 183-4 at 32). Dent's dental record from July 15, 2016, also does not mention an abscess (Doc. 183-5 at p. 255). Dent disputes this testimony, however, testifying that Dr. Burrell diagnosed him with an abscess and told him the tooth needed to be removed (Doc. 193 at p. 65; Doc. 183-3 at p. 11). Dr. Burrell gave Dent a prescription for Amoxicillin to treat the infection and ibuprofen 400mg for his pain (Doc. 203-1 at ¶ 11). Dr. Burrell also put Dent on the prison's extraction list (Doc. 183-4 at p. 19). Dr. Burrell attested that it is common practice to treat an infection with an antibiotic prior to extracting a tooth, as it can be difficult to numb the area if an infection is present (Doc. 203-1 at ¶ 12).

         Dr. Burrell saw Dent at regular dental call lines between July 16 and August 5, 2016 (Id. at ¶ 14). His tooth was not extracted at these appointments, however, as extractions are not scheduled during the dental call line (Id.).

         Dr. Burrell examined Dent on August 5, 2016, and gave him pain medication, though Dr. Burrell did not believe Dent was actually in pain anymore (Doc. 183-4 at p. 19). There was no sign of infection at that time (Id. at p. 20). Dr. Burrell told Dent to get his teeth cleaned, then let him know about his discomfort level (Doc. 183-5 at p. 55). That same day, Dent filed a grievance against Dr. Burrell for putting him on a waiting list to have his tooth extracted after previously telling him that his tooth was abscessed (Doc. 193 at p. 65).

         Dent testified that on August 15, 2016, Dr. Burrell verbally informed Dent that he would extract the tooth because he was upset about a grievance being filed against him. (Id. at p. 15). Dr. Burrell told Dent: “Since [you're] considered special, [I] will extract the tooth today.” (Id.). Tooth #31 then was extracted under anesthesia (Doc. 203-1 at ¶ 15). Dent testified that the extraction took 40 to 45 minutes due to his tooth breaking in separate pieces (Doc. 183-3 at p. 16).

         Dr. Burrell attested that he did not diagnose an abscess on tooth #31 prior to extracting it (Id. at ¶ 29). Instead, he believed tooth #31 showed signs of an infection, which was treated with antibiotics and pain medication (Id.). He further attested that, although he is now aware that Dent filed several grievances related to his dental care, he was not aware of ...

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