United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE
McDandal, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a motion for a
preliminary injunction. ECF 15. He alleges that he is not
receiving appropriate medical treatment for his Carpal Tunnel
Syndrome or proper medication for his dry skin. He was
granted leave to proceed against Dr. Liaw on both claims. ECF
10. Dr. Liaw has not yet appeared as a defendant in this
case. Nevertheless, since McDandal has not made a threshold
showing that he is reasonably likely to succeed on the
merits, this motion can be denied without a response from Dr.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic
remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by
a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.”
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997).
“In order to obtain a preliminary injunction, the
moving party must show that: (1) they are reasonably likely
to succeed on the merits; (2) no adequate remedy at law
exists; (3) they will suffer irreparable harm which, absent
injunctive relief, outweighs the irreparable harm the
respondent will suffer if the injunction is granted; and (4)
the injunction will not harm the public interest.”
Joelner v. Village of Washington Park, Illinois, 378
F.3d 613, 619 (7th Cir. 2004).
start, I consider whether McDandal has shown a reasonable
likelihood of success on the merits. Under the Eighth
Amendment, inmates are entitled to adequate medical care.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). To
establish liability, a prisoner must satisfy both an
objective and subjective component by showing: (1) his
medical need was objectively serious; and (2) the defendant
acted with deliberate indifference to that medical need.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A
medical need is “serious” if it is one that a
physician has diagnosed as mandating treatment, or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize
the necessity for a doctor's attention. Greeno v.
Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005). Deliberate
indifference means that the defendant “acted in an
intentional or criminally reckless manner, i.e., the
defendant must have known that the plaintiff was at serious
risk of being harmed and decided not to do anything to
prevent that harm from occurring even though he could have
easily done so.” Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d
469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005). For a medical professional to be
held liable for deliberate indifference to a serious medical
need, he or she 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).
in the motion for preliminary injunction convinces me that
McDandal has a reasonable likelihood of success. His
bare-bones motion does little more than repeat some of the
general allegations contained in his complaint: he is not
getting the treatment he needs, and that is the result of Dr.
Liaw's deliberate indifference. ECF 15.
said, I do recognize that McDandal recently filed a motion to
introduce evidence. ECF 14. It is unclear why he filed this
motion or the attached twenty-two pages of documents. Even
considering this evidence, I still cannot conclude that
McDandal has met his burden to show that he is likely to
succeed on the merits of his claims. The evidence submitted
by McDandal largely consists of his Request for Health Care
forms. ECF 14-1 at pp. 1-6, 8-9, 12-13, 16-22. While this
establishes that he repeatedly requested medical treatment,
it does not establish that Dr. Liaw has been deliberately
indifferent. Also included in this evidence is a July 12,
2018, letter from Nurse Thomas Hobbs, the IDOC Health
Services Quality Assurance Manager, responding to
McDandal's complaints about not receiving Minerin skin
cream for his dry skin. ECF 14-1 at 7. In it, Hobbs explains
to McDandal that, “[t]he physician has noted that he
has seen and evaluated you in October he felt that during the
drier winter months that the cream was required. At your more
recent exam in April the Minerin was not continued because
the physician exam indicated that your skin had improved, and
it was no longer indicated.” Id. Hobbs'
letter was forwarded to Nurse Nikki Tafoya, an IDOC Quality
Assurance Monitor. ECF 14-1 at 10. On August 17, 2018, she
explained to McDandal that:
A review of your medical record has been performed and it is
noted that Dr. Liaw explained to you the rationale for not
prescribing the Minerin cream that you requested. He notes
that while you do have dry skin that it is much improved from
the fall/winter and that minerin cream was not medically
indicated. Dr. Liaw indicated that you may purchase creams
from commissary to manage your dry skin.
You were also removed from chronic care for Carpal Tunnel at
this visit in July. According to Dr. Liaw you have a wrist
splint and can manage pain with over the counter medications
the evidence submitted by McDandal, it appears Dr. Liaw
treated his dry skin and Carpal Tunnel. Dr. Liaw provided
McDandal with a wrist splint for his Carpal Tunnel and
discontinued the Minerin because he determined it was no
longer medically necessary. There is no question that this
was not the treatment McDandal wanted, but a prisoner is not
entitled to demand specific care, nor is he entitled to the
“best care possible.” Forbes v. Edgar,
112 F.3d 262, 267 (7th Cir. 1997). It is also clear that
McDandal disagrees with Dr. Liaw about how his dry skin and
Carpal Tunnel should be treated. But, a mere disagreement
with medical professionals about the appropriate course of
treatment does not establish deliberate indifference, nor
does negligence or even medical malpractice. Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011). I also
cannot ignore that Dr. Liaw's treatment of McDandal was
reviewed by two other IDOC health care providers and nothing
in either review raised a red flag.
contrast, McDandal's assertions about the need for a
different course of treatment for his dry skin and Capral
Tunnel are based solely on his own beliefs. He has not
provided any supporting evidence that Dr. Liaw's medical
treatment of either condition constitutes deliberate
indifference. Consequently, it is fair to say that McDandal
has fallen far short of making the clear showing of a
likelihood of success to warrant the extraordinary remedy of
a preliminary injunction.
(1) the motion to introduce evidence ...