United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. ASPEN, DISTRICT JUDGE.
Isaac Perez alleges that Dr. Timothy Fahy, Dr. Saleh Obaisi,
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford") were
deliberately indifferent to his eye and back conditions
during his incarceration at Stateville Correctional Center
("Stateville"). (Amend. Comp. (Dkt. No. 10)
¶¶ 1-4, 26, 30-32, 34-36.) Before us is
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Mot. (Dkt. No.
52).) For the reasons set forth below, we grant
facts outlined hereafter are taken from the parties'
Local Rule 56.1 statements and are undisputed unless
is incarcerated and has been living at Stateville since 2013.
(Defs.' Statement of Facts (“Defs.'
Facts”) (Dkt. No. 53) ¶ 4.) Perez experienced
recurring left eye and back problems while incarcerated that
prompted him to seek medical treatment from the Illinois
Department of Corrections ("IDOC"). IDOC provides
care to inmates, in part, by contracting with Wexford.
(Id. ¶ 5.) Wexford in turn hires physicians and
other medical staff who provide direct care to
Stateville's inmates. (Id. ¶ 5.) Drs.
Obaisi and Fahy were employed by Wexford and provided medical
care to Perez. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7, 22, 62.)
PEREZ'S LEFT EYE
first started having eye problems while incarcerated in 2014.
(Perez Decl. (Dkt. No. 62-1) ¶ 1; Perez Dep. (Dkt. No.
53-1) at 22.) Perez testified that blurry vision, watery
eyes, and fluid discharge prompted him to request an
appointment with an optometrist. (Perez Dep. at 22-23; Perez
Decl. ¶¶ 1-2.)
Perez's Initial Eye Appointments
eyes were initially examined in November 2014. (Pl.'s
Add. Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Pl.'s
Facts") (Dkt. No. 59) ¶ 3; Dkt. No. 59-1 at 2.) The
examining optometrist observed that Perez complained of
blurry vision in his left eye and may have had a previous
episode of Central Serous Retinopathy
("CSR"). (Dkt. No 59-1 at 2.) CSR occurs when fluid
accumulates in retinal tissue and can manifest as blurry or
distorted vision, or grayness in the central area of a
patient's vision. (Fahy Dep. at 6-7, 19; Defs.' Facts
¶ 25.) It is unknown what causes CSR, but it is often
temporary. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 25.) Perez's
eyes were examined again about nine months later. (Pl.'s
Facts ¶ 5; Dkt. No. 59-2 at 2.) The examining physician
noted that there was "no change in [Perez's]
Retina," and his left eye was "quiet." (Dkt.
No. 59-2 at 2.)
Perez's Appointments with Dr. Fahy
Fahy first saw Perez on December 2, 2016 for a general eye
checkup. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 22; Fahy Dep. at 13.) Dr.
Fahy did not review Perez's medical records before the
checkup. (Fahy Dep. at 11.) Dr. Fahy observed that Perez had
irritated eyelids and mucus discharge from both eyes, and
diagnosed him with "atopic conjunctivitis," for
which he proscribed anti-inflammatory eyedrops. (Defs.'
Facts ¶ 22; Perez's Med. Recs. (Dkt. No. 57) at
64.) Dr. Fahy also ordered Perez glasses and told
him to follow up in a week. (Defs.' Facts ¶
Perez's follow-up appointment on December 12, 2016, Dr.
Fahy diagnosed Perez with CSR in his left eye and referred
him to an ophthalmologist. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶
23-24, 51; Med. Recs. at 62.) Dr. Fahy testified that as an
optometrist, his only treatment option when presented with
CSR is to refer the patient to a specialist. (Fahy Dep. at
22; Defs.' Facts ¶ 52.) He also testified that he
has previously encountered two patients with CSR and that he
referred them both to an ophthalmologist. (Fahy Dep. at 9.)
utilizes a review process when patients are referred for
offsite treatment or to a specialist. (Defs.' Facts
¶ 18-19.) Referrals are reviewed by the "Wexford
Collegial Review Board" ("Review Board") that
consists of physicians and nurses who determine whether
recommended treatments should be approved. (Id.) In
December 2016, the Review Board approved Dr. Fahy's
referral to an ophthalmologist and Perez was eventually
scheduled for an appointment at the University of Illinois at
Chicago's ("UIC") Ophthalmology clinic.
(Id. ¶ 26.)
Perez's Ophthalmology Appointment and Dr. Fahy Follow
was seen at UIC on May 11, 2017, approximately five months
after Perez's appointment was approved. (Id.
¶ 28.) It is unclear why there was such a long delay,
but it is undisputed that Dr. Fahy does not have control over
UIC's scheduling processes. (Pl.'s Resp. to
Defs.' Facts (Dkt. No. 59) ¶ 53.) The
ophthalmologist that examined Perez did not diagnose him with
CSR. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 28; Med. Recs. at 62.) Rather,
the UIC ophthalmologist diagnosed Perez with "myopia
astigmatism" (nearsightedness), recommended that he wear
his glasses full time, and instructed him to follow up in a
year. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 28-29.)
Fahy saw Perez less than a week later and observed that the
fluid in Perez's eyes were receding and his vision was
improving, but Perez still had CSR. (Id. ¶ 31.)
Dr. Fahy instructed Perez to follow up in three months or as
needed if his vision worsened. (Id.) Dr. Fahy saw
Perez again four months later. (Id. ¶ 32.) At
the appointment, Perez complained that the vision in his left
eye was reduced and that he had lost contrast sensitivity.
(Id.) Dr. Fahy thereafter referred Perez to another
specialist, however, instead of referring Perez to an
ophthalmologist, he referred him to a retina specialist.
(Id. ¶¶ 32-33.) A retina specialist is a
tertiary care eye physician that is more highly specialized
than an ophthalmologist. (Id. ¶ 51.)
Perez's Retina Specialist Appointment and Dr. Fahy Follow
March 6, 2018, Perez was seen by a retina specialist, Dr.
William F. Mieler. (Id. ¶ 35.) Dr. Mieler
diagnosed Perez with CSR and recommended he be treated with
photodynamic therapy ("PDT"). (Id.
¶¶ 35-36.) But the Review Board did not approve Dr.
Mieler's recommendation for Perez to receive PDT.
(Id. ¶ 39; Med. Recs. at 43.) Rather, it
determined that Perez's diagnosis should be confirmed and
that it needed "written confirmation" from
UIC's Retina Clinic that PDT was an "FDA approved
treatment for CSR." (Med. Recs. at 43; Defs.' Facts
¶ 39.) While the Review Board waited for confirmation,
Dr. Fahy saw Perez again and noted that Perez's vision
was still blurry and he was experiencing light sensitivity
for which Dr. Fahy ordered Perez tint for his glasses.
(Defs.' Facts ¶ 40; Med. Recs. at 105.) Not long
thereafter, a Wexford physician affirmed the Review
Board's denial. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 42.) That