United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. McGuire, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint
alleging that Dr. Joseph Thompson unnecessarily delayed
medical treatment for his broken wrist, in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. ECF 2. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
this court must review the complaint and dismiss it if the
action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or
seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
such relief. A complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter to “state a claim that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). “A document filed pro se is to be
liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers . . ..”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
“In order to state a claim under [42 U.S.C.] §
1983 a plaintiff must allege: (1) that defendants deprived
him of a federal constitutional right; and (2) that the
defendants acted under color of state law.” Savory
v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006).
is an inmate at the Indiana State Prison. On October 1, 2016,
he was injured by falling down the stairs. As a result, he
was seen by Nurse Collins for his injuries, which included a
swollen left wrist. Nurse Collins informed Dr. Thompson of
McGuire's injuries; however, the doctor did not come out
of his office to personally observe them. The next day, Nurse
Collins again examined McGuire and noted that McGuire's
left wrist was hurting and swollen with a bump on the top.
She informed Dr. Thompson of these injuries, but he again did
not come out of his office to personally examine them.
October 3, McGuire's wrist was x-rayed. The x-ray
technician told McGuire that the results would likely look
“normal” due to the swelling. The technician told
Dr. Thompson that the wrist needed to be x-rayed after the
swelling went down. Dr. Thompson waited nearly 8 months to
order an x-ray for McGuire's wrist. The x-ray revealed
McGuire's wrist was broken. Dr. Thompson then ordered a
second x-ray, which again showed that McGuire had a broken
wrist. Dr. Thompson scheduled him to see an orthopedic
surgeon on June 29, 2017, who applied a cast to McGuire's
left wrist. After the cast was removed, the orthopedic
specialist recommended surgery.
September 14, 2017, McGuire was seen by hand surgeon,
Randolph J. Ferlic. He told McGuire that surgery was required
because Dr. Thompson waited too long to put his wrist in a
cast. McGuire had wrist surgery on January 8, 2018. McGuire
sues Dr. Thompson for money damages for denying medical care
for his broken wrist.
medical cases, the Eighth Amendment is violated only when a
defendant was deliberately indifferent to an inmate's
serious medical needs. Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d
1364, 1369 (7th Cir. 1997). But, prisoners are “not
entitled to demand specific care. [They are] not entitled to
the best care possible.” Forbes v. Edgar, 112
F.3d 262, 267 (7th Cir.1997).
For a medical professional to be liable for deliberate
indifference to an inmate's medical needs, he must make a
decision that represents such a substantial departure from
accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards, as to
demonstrate that the person responsible actually did not base
the decision on such a judgment.
Jackson v. Kotter, 541 F.3d 688, 697 (7th Cir. 2008)
(quotation marks and citations omitted). Medical malpractice
and incompetence do not state a claim of deliberate
indifference. Walker v. Peters, 233 F.3d 494 (7th
Cir. 2000). Neither does mere “disagreement with
medical professionals . . . state a cognizable Eighth
Amendment Claim under the deliberate indifference standard of
Estelle v. Gamble [429 U.S. 97 (1976)].”
Ciarpaglini v. Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 331 (7th Cir.
the complaint alleges that Dr. Thompson was aware that he
needed to order another x-ray after the swelling in
McGuire's wrist went down, but he nevertheless delayed
getting that x-ray for nearly 8 months. This delay in
treatment harmed McGuire. Because the complaint alleges that
this medical provider knew that he needed medical attention,
but unnecessarily delayed it, the complaint states a claim.
See Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1369 (7th
Cir. 1997); Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 752-53
(7th Cir. 2011); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d
763, 779 (7th Cir. 2008).
these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS the plaintiff leave to proceed against Dr.
Thompson for delaying the receipt of proper medical treatment
for his wrist after he fell on October 1, 2016, in violation
of the Eighth Amendment;
(2) DISMISSES any and all other claims contained in the
(3) DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service
to issue and serve process on Dr. Thompson at the Indiana
Department of Correction with a copy of this order and the
complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. §
(4) ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), that
Dr. Thompson respond, as provided for in the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 10-1(b), only to the claim
for which the plaintiff has been ...