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Reynolds v. York R.N.

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

December 12, 2017



          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Wayne Reynolds, an inmate at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, brings this action pursuant to pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, Reynolds claims that the defendants failed to respond adequately to his kidney stone pain. The defendants move for summary judgment and Reynolds has responded.[1] For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment, dkt. [27], is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant’s favor. Hemsworth v., Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”). However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial.” Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490. Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

         II. Factual Background

         Mr. Reynolds is diabetic. In October of 2015, he received metformin and glipizide to control his diabetes and attended the Accu-Chek line three times a day to monitor his blood glucose levels. On October 9, 2015, defendant Nurse Cindy York and another nurse processed the morning Accu-Chek line, beginning at approximately 5:00 am.

         According to Nurse York, the correctional officers need the nurses to process the line efficiently due to the security issues involved with having many offenders waiting for treatment. Often inmates will make medical complaints or raise health issues during the Accu-Chek process. But Accu-Chek is not a general nursing appointment to discuss all of an inmate’s current health needs. Allowing inmates to raise all health needs disrupts the process, extending the time needed to complete the line, and delaying treatment – including needed insulin injections – to others who are waiting. Thus, when an offender raises a health concern, Nurse York will assess whether the condition requires immediate treatment. If the symptoms indicate an immediate need for treatment, she will refer the inmate to the infirmary. Otherwise, she advises the inmate to submit a health service request for treatment when he returns to the housing unit so that he can be triaged.

         At 5:30 a.m., during his Accu-Check visit, Reynolds reported abdominal pain to Nurse York. Nurse York recalls that Reynolds reported abdominal pain and she advised him to submit a request for the nursing line for evaluation that day. When she saw him, she did not think he exhibited the signs and symptoms of significant pain or the need for emergent treatment. He could walk without issue, he did not vomit, and he was not crouched over. Nurse York did not think Reynolds had kidney stones, but something like GI upset, which could be addressed at the nurse’s line without worsening his condition. Reynolds says she did not assess his pain at all and simply told him to go back to his cell.

         After Accu-Chek, an officer escorted Reynolds from the infirmary. Outside, Reynolds “stopped in the hall cause I couldn’t make it.” He explained his pain to the “desk C/O,” who called Nurse York. Nurse York came out to the desk area, but still told Reynolds to return to his cell. Approximately an hour later, Reynolds pushed the emergency button in his cell and reported abdominal pain to the correctional officer in his unit, Officer Reed. At 6:45 am, Reed called the infirmary to report that Reynolds required evaluation.

         Nurse York had left work by 6:30 am. Nurse Robinson clocked in at 7:00 am that morning, when her shift began. Although she is now the Director of Nursing, Nurse Robinson was not on October 9, 2015, and did not have any supervisory role. Sometime after she arrived at work, she learned an officer had called the infirmary to report that an inmate needed evaluation, and she promptly left to assess Reynolds with her satchel of medical supplies.

         At approximately 7:30 am, Nurse Robinson arrived at Reynolds’ cell and determined he needed to be immediately transported to the infirmary for further evaluation. She had not brought a wheelchair or stretcher because she did not know to what extent he would need help with transport. However, Nurse Robinson was confident that if Reynolds did need help, it was readily available. She had Reynolds conveyed to the infirmary.

         At the infirmary, Nurse Robinson performed an emergency evaluation of Reynolds’s abdominal pain. He reported a gradual onset of the pain, which became moderate to severe, over more than one hour. Reynolds stated that the pain started sometime in the night and was in his right upper quadrant. He described the pain as sharp and constant without change or relieving factors. Nurse Robinson noted that the correctional staff called the infirmary because he reported severe abdominal pain. He reported diarrhea and vomiting to Nurse Robinson. She called Dr. Byrd at 7:45 am to evaluate him. Dr. Byrd examined him and entered his findings into the medical record at 7:58 am.

         Dr. Byrd ordered a chest x-ray, an x-ray of the abdomen, and immediate bloodwork. The x-rays were negative. Dr. Byrd noted Reynolds was positive for abdominal pain, changes in stool pattern, decreased appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, malaise, and night sweats. He noted that Reynolds had severe right lower quadrant abdominal tenderness, but the abdomen was symmetric with no distention. Concerned that Reynolds might have appendicitis, Dr. Byrd sent him to the emergency room.

         Reynolds went to Terre Haute Regional Hospital where emergency room physician Keshava Redding evaluated him at approximately 11:50 am. Dr. Redding obtained a CT of Reynolds’s abdomen. Reynolds had a kidney stone in his ureter – the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. The stone was six millimeters in size and had almost passed from the ureter into the bladder. It caused “minimal” dilation of the ureter, expected with a kidney stone. Once the stone reached the bladder, the pain would abate. In the meantime, Dr. ...

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