United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Melvin Ford, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center, brings this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred while
incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center
(“Big Muddy”). Ford claims that Defendants have
been deliberately indifferent to his medical needs; he seeks
monetary and injunctive relief.
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
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). At this juncture, the
factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to
be liberally construed. Rodriquez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
makes the following allegations: During his time at Big
Muddy, he received inadequate care for his heart, knees, and
ankle. On multiple occasions, he informed Defendants Dr.
Larson and Physician Assistant Gerst that he was having
extreme pain in his heart, knees, and ankle, but his requests
to (1) see a cardiologist; (2) have an MRI; (3) be prescribed
a low sodium diet; (3) receive a medical gym permit; and (4)
have a coronary calcium exam, were all denied. (Doc. 1, pp.
19-22). He was told that Big Muddy does not allow inmates to
see cardiologists and does not like for the medical staff to
order MRI's because of the costs. (Id. at pp.
20, 21). He was also prescribed a medication that caused him
to become dehydrated, without instructions on how much water
to drink in order to stay hydrated. (Id. at p. 22).
Instead of prescribing a special diet for Ford, Gerst told
him that if he wanted to lose weight he should stop eating.
(Id. at p. 20).
of the inadequate care, on May 5, 2019, Ford had a heart
attack. Following the heart attack, Dr. Larson still denied
his requests to see a cardiologist and to be placed on a
bland heart healthy diet. (Id. at p. 19). While at
Big Muddy, Ford continued to have difficulty losing weight to
help his heart condition because of the high sodium diet of
the cafeteria. And, because his knees and ankle have gone
untreated, he cannot run or put weight on his knees and ankle
without causing extreme pain. (Id. at pp. 22-23).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to designate one Count:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim of
deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Dr.
Larson and Gerst for providing inadequate treatment for
Ford's heart condition and knee and ankle pain.
parties and the Court will use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial
officer of this Court. Any claim that is mentioned in
the Complaint but not addressed in this Order is considered
dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the
Twombly pleading standard.
are entitled to adequate medical care. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). The “receipt of
some medical care does not automatically defeat a claim of
deliberate indifference.” Edwards v. Snyder,
478 F.3d 827, 831 (7th Cir. 2007). Deliberate indifference
may occur where a prison official, having knowledge of a
significant risk to inmate health or safety, administers
“blatantly inappropriate” medical treatment,
Edwards, 478 F.3d at 831, acts in a manner contrary
to the recommendation of specialists, Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 658, 753 (7th Cir. 2011), or delays a
prisoner's treatment for non-medical reasons, thereby
exacerbating his pain and suffering. McGowan v.
Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010). Furthermore,
a medical professional's actions may reflect deliberate
indifference if he “chooses an easier and less
efficacious treatment without exercising professional
judgment or simply continues with a course of treatment that
he knows is ineffective in treating the inmate's
condition.” Arnett, 658 F.3d at 754 (citations
and quotations omitted).
claims that, despite repeatedly informing Dr. Larson and
Gerst that he was experiencing heart, knee, and ankle pain,
they continued with an inadequate and ineffective line of
treatment, ultimately resulting in a heart attack, is
sufficient for Count 1 to survive preliminary review.