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Preston v. O'Brien

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

September 26, 2014

COREY PRESTON, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. O'BRIEN, Defendant.

ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Corey Preston, a former inmate of the Putnamville Correctional Facility ("Putnamville"), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendant Dr. O'Brien violated his right to constitutionally adequate medical care. Specifically, Preston alleges that Dr. O'Brien delayed diagnosing and treating his orbital fracture. Dr. O'Brien moves for summary judgment.[1]

I. Summary Judgment Standard

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In determining the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, the court construes all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, neither the "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties nor the existence of some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts will defeat a motion for summary judgment." Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000) (internal quotes omitted). "In a § 1983 case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof on the constitutional deprivation that underlies the claim, and thus must come forward with sufficient evidence to create genuine issues of material fact to avoid summary judgment." McAllister v. Price, 615 F.3d 877, 881 (7th Cir. 2010).

II. Undisputed Facts

The following statement of facts is assessed consistent with the standard set forth above. That is, as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts are presented in the light most favorable to Preston as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). Facts relevant to each of Mr. Preston's allegations of deliberate indifference and malpractice are discussed together.

A. Mr. Preston's Injury and Initial Treatment

On September 12, 2010, while he was an inmate at Putnamville, Mr. Preston was hit in the face by another offender. That day, Mr. Preston was taken to the medical unit, where Charlotte Dean, LPN, assessed two lacerations on his right eye and a scratch on the side of his nose and under his nose. Exhibit C to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Medical Records of Corey Preston ("Exhibit C"), at 1. Nurse Dean applied steri-strips to Mr. Preston's eye and gave him aspirin. Id. She did not note any other injuries. Id. Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare on September 16, 2010, reporting that he needed to see the doctor for his right eye and he had dizziness and headaches and his face was swollen. Id. at 2. Mr. Preston submitted two Requests for Health Care on September 19, 2010, stating that he saw the nurse on September 12 and was supposed to see the doctor but he had not yet. Id. at 3-4. He complained of significant swelling under his eye and that his nose was numb. Id. Nursing staff responded to his Requests on September 21, 2010 and informed Mr. Preston that he was scheduled for an x-ray and advised him to take Ibuprofen as needed and use ice for discomfort. Id. at 4. On September 21, 2010, Preston saw Cynthia Moore-Sivert, L.P.N. for right eye swelling. Id. at 5-8. Mr. Preston said that he could see fine except from the right side of his right eye and that he had pain all over his head. Id. Nurse Moore-Sivert noted that the right eye was swollen completely around and was completely blood shot. She took Preston's vital signs and contacted Dr. O'Brien and Dr. O'Brien ordered an x-ray. This was the first time Dr. O'Brien was aware of Preston's injuries. Exhibit B to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Affidavit of Dr. O'Brien ("Exhibit B"), para. 4.

On September 22, 2010, Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare reporting that he was in behavioral segregation and did not want to miss his appointment for his x-ray. Exhibit C at 10. He also reported pain in his right eye and numbness in his face. He also submitted another Request for Healthcare that day stating that he was spitting up blood and requesting his x-ray. Id. at 11. Mr. Preston received the x-ray. Dr. O'Brien examined Mr. Preston for the first time on September 23, 2010. Id. at 12-21.

B. Treatment for Pain

During his September 23, 2010 exam, Dr. O'Brien prescribed Mr. Preston Vicodin for 10 days for pain and submitted a consultation request for a CT scan. Id. at 16. Mr. Preston was seen in the Chronic Care Clinic on September 25, 2010 by Dr. Person for his chronic health conditions. Id. at 22-23. On September 26, 2010, Dr. O'Brien renewed Mr. Preston's Vicodin for 10 days.[2] Id. at 24-29. In his Request for Healthcare submitted on September 28, 2010, Mr. Preston reported pain in his eye and nose and numbness. Id. at 31. Mr. Preston had an appointment with Dr. O'Brien on September 29, 2010, but the appointment was cancelled because Dr. O'Brien was ill. Id. at 32. On September 30, 2010, Dr. O'Brien examined Mr. Preston and noted that the fracture was stable. Id. at 33-35. Dr. O'Brien thought that Mr. Preston was doing well, with no double vision or pain over his sinuses. Id. His eye movement was also intact and symmetrical. Id.

Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare on October 1, 2010 stating that he wanted to take the Vicodin that Dr. O'Brien ordered because he was in pain. Id. at 39. The Request for Health Care states: "Dr. O'Brien have order pain medication for me for am and pm. The order is Vicodin 500. I wish to take my medication!" Id. Medical staff responded to the Request on October 3, 2010 and notified Mr. Preston that his Vicodin was discontinued. Id. Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare on October 4, 2010 stating that he had pain and numbness. Id. at 41. On October 6, 2010, Dr. O'Brien prescribed Vicodin again for 10 days. Id. at 43-44 and 46-48. Medical staff responded to Mr. Preston's Request on October 6, 2010 and informed Mr. Preston that medication had been ordered. Id. at 41.

On October 17, 2010, Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare that he was in pain and his pain medication expired. Id. at 51. In response, medical staff sent his Request to the doctor. Id. Mr. Preston was seen in nursing sick call on October 19, 2010. Id. at 52-54. Mr. Preston reported pain in his head and headaches. Id. The nurse took his vital signs and noted some swelling in the right eye area. Id. The nurse noted that she would request that Dr. O'Brien see Mr. Preston to discuss pain medication. Id. Mr. Preston had a CT scan on October 22, 2010 at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. Id. at 55-58. Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare on October 26, 2010 requesting the results of his CT scan and stating that still had discomfort on the right side of his face. Id. at 59. In response two days later, he was informed that he was scheduled that day to see Dr. O'Brien. Id. Dr. O'Brien examined Mr. Preston on October 28, 2010 and discussed with him his CT scan report, which came in that day. Id. at 60-70. Dr. O'Brien noted some tenderness to the lateral orbit of the right eye and some mild swelling around the nose. Id. He also prescribed Vicodin for 30 days. Id.

Dr. O'Brien saw Mr. Preston again on November 1, 2010 and noted that he was doing well with pain medication and had no visual changes or double vision. Id. at 72-73. Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare on November 2, 2010 asking if he had been scheduled to see a plastic surgeon and that he had pain and blurred vision. Id. at 74. In response, he was informed that his Vicodin prescription was renewed through November 28, 2010. Id. On November 3, 2010, Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare complaining of pain, numbness, headaches, and blurred vision. Id. at 76. On November 8, 2010, Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare against stating that he had blurred vision, numbness, and discomfort when he chewed. Id. at 78.

On November 10, 2010, Mr. Preston was scheduled for a nursing sick call visit in response to his November 8, 2010 Request for Healthcare, but Mr. Preston opted not to see the nurse. Id. at 81. On November 12, 2010, Mr. Preston submitted three Requests for Health Care. Id. at 82-84. In the first Request, he asked about certain entries in his chart from Dr. O'Brien on November 2, 2010 because he did not see Dr. O'Brien on that date. Id. at 84. Medical staff responded to the Request the next day and informed Mr. Preston that Wishard Hospital contacted the doctor to schedule his plastic surgery appointment on November 2, 2010. Id. The second Request asked for medical treatment and the third Request was regarding pain in his face and headaches. Id. at 82-83. Mr. Preston was scheduled for nursing sick call on November 15, 2010, but the appointment could not take place because the facility was on lock-down. Id. at 76. Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Healthcare on November 20, 2010 regarding headaches, blurred vision and pain in his face. Id. at 85. Mr. Preston was seen in nursing sick call on November 22, 2010 for complaints of vision changes. Id. at 85-88. The nurse took Mr. Preston's vital signs and tested his visual acuity. Id. His eye exam was within normal limits, but the nurse referred Mr. Preston for an eye exam with the eye doctor due to his injury. Id.

On November 24, 2010, Mr. Preston submitted a Request for Health Care stating that his Vicodin was about to run out. Id. at 89. In response, medical staff said they would ask the doctor. Id. Mr. Preston submitted another Request for Healthcare on November 30, 2010 that he was being denied medication for his pain. Id. at 90. He wanted to see the doctor and the eye doctor. Id. Medical staff responded to this Request three days later and informed Mr. Preston that the eye doctor only came to the prison twice a month and that he was scheduled ...


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