United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Williams, a prisoner without a lawyer, proceeds on Eighth
Amendment claims against Dr. Thompson and Wexford Medical
Services, alleging that he has received inadequate treatment
for a wound on his lower right leg since May 2017. ECF 4. The
defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment,
arguing that Dr. Thompson provided appropriate treatment for
the wound and that Williams has not demonstrated a policy or
practice that contributed to a constitutional violation in
relation to the medical care for his wound. Williams responds
that Dr. Thompson acted with deliberate indifference by
continuing to pursue a course of treatment that had been
maintains that the instant motion is procedurally deficient
because he did not receive the defendants' exhibits in
support of the motion for summary judgment, including the
medical records and the transcript of his deposition.
Notably, Williams did not raise this issue in the three
motions he filed to stay or extend his response deadline (ECF
77, ECF 79, ECF 81), and the Bates stamps on the medical
record exhibits attached to Williams' response brief
strongly suggests that he did receive these
exhibits. Further, even if the defendants did not
send these exhibits as attachments to the instant motion,
this did not prejudice Williams because he had also received
them during the discovery stage. ECF 53-65. Williams further
maintains that Dr. Thompson's affidavit (ECF 72-3) is
inadmissible because Dr. Thompson has no personal knowledge
of Williams' medical history prior to April 2012 and no
personal recollection of the details of Williams' medical
history since April 2012. However, Dr. Thompson is qualified
as a medical expert, and neither personal knowledge nor
personal recollection is required to testify on matters
within a witness' realm of expertise. See Fed.
R. Evid. 702, 703. Additionally, witnesses are permitted to
testify on matters of personal knowledge even if they must
reference documents to refresh their recollections.
Fed.R.Evid. 612. Therefore, the court finds no issues of
admissibility with respect to the defendants' exhibits
and will consider them in their entirety.
support of their motion for summary judgment, the defendants
submitted the declaration of Dr. Thompson, Williams'
medical records from November 2011 to April 2018, and the
transcript of Williams' deposition testimony. On October
28, 1999, Williams sustained a gunshot wound to the right leg
and groin area. ECF 72-2 at 4. He received substantial
medical care following this injury, including a surgical
procedure to relieve swelling and pressure, also known as a
fasciotomy. Id. at 4-6; ECF 74-3. As a complication
of this injury, Williams suffers from chronic lymphedema in
his right leg, which causes his fasciotomy scars to reopen
periodically. ECF 74-3. Lymphedema is swelling caused by the
accumulation of lymph fluid usually in the arms of legs due
to damaged or removed lymph nodes. Id.
2011, Williams' wound reopened. ECF 74-2 at 6. He was
sent to wound care specialists at the Terre Haute Regional
Hospital on multiple occasions, and their recommended course
of treatment consisted of daily dressing changes, antibiotic
medication, elevation of the right leg, and a compression
pump and stockings. ECF 74-5 at 1-27. On April 12, 2012,
Williams transferred from the Wabash Valley Correctional
Facility to the Indiana State Prison under the medical care
of Dr. Thompson. Id. at 33-35. On May 3, 2012, Dr.
Thompson consulted with a wound care specialist from
ConvaTec, whose recommended course of treatment consisted of
cleansing, dressing, and monitoring the wound on a regular
basis. Id. at 42-45. He also prescribed antibiotic
medication. Id. When the wound remained open, Dr.
Thompson sent Williams to an orthopedic specialist at the
Saint Anthony Memorial Hospital on multiple occasions, and
the orthopedic specialist's recommended course of
treatment consisted of compression socks and daily cleansing
and dressing of the wound. Id. at 60-89; ECF 74-6 at
2012 to 2015, the wound periodically reopened and healed. ECF
74-3. On June 28, 2013, Williams underwent a triple phase
bone scan, which revealed no signs of bone infection. ECF
74-6 at 11. In August 2015, Dr. Thompson observed that the
wound had healed completely and discontinued regular wound
care, though Williams was provided with medical supplies for
self-care. Id. at 81. From August 2015 to May 2017,
Williams experienced swelling, dry skin, and arthritic pain
in the right leg, but the wound remained closed. ECF 74-3.
14, 2017, Williams reported that his wound had reopened and
requested an appointment with Dr. Thompson. Id. at
129. On May 17, Dr. Thompson observed a small opening and
ordered wound care for Williams, which he usually received on
a daily basis. ECF 74-7 at 3-5. On June 15, Dr. Thompson
ordered a compression boot for Williams' right leg.
Id. at 64-66. On September 15, Dr. Thompson noted
that the wound had closed but prescribed Minerin cream and
continued Williams in wound care to prevent dry skin. ECF
74-8 at 37-39. On October 26, Dr. Thompson discontinued wound
care based on a nurse's report that the wound had healed.
December 6, 2017, Dr. Thompson observed a slight opening in
the wound and restarted wound care for Williams. Id.
at 64-66. On December 23, Dr. Thompson retired and provided
no further treatment for Williams. ECF 74-3. However, since
that time, medical staff have continued Dr. Thompson's
course of treatment for the right leg wound, including
medication and dressing and cleaning the wound. Id.
On November 8, 2018, X-rays of the lower right leg revealed
no signs of bone infection. ECF 74-10 at 125.
affidavit, Williams attests that, on February 8, 2019, he
transferred to the infirmary unit at the Wabash Valley
Correctional Center, where he continues to receive the same
course of treatment for his right leg wound. ECF 85. At his
deposition, Williams testified that he repeatedly asked Dr.
Thompson to see a wound specialist, and he denied that his
wound had healed or closed at any point after May 2017. ECF
72-2 at 8-11.
judgment must be granted when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A
genuine dispute of material fact exists when “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In
determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, the
deciding court must construe all facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in that party's favor. Ogden v.
Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).
alleges that Dr. Thompson acted with deliberate indifference
to his medical needs by providing inadequate treatment for
his right leg wound since it reopened in May 2017. To prevail
on this claim, Williams must show: (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).
at his deposition, Williams disputed Dr. Thompson's
assessment of his wound as healed in September 2017.
Construing this fact in Williams' favor as required at
the summary judgment stage, this suggests that Dr. Thompson
acted with deliberate indifference by fabricating his
assessment at the September 2017 appointment and when he
discontinued Williams from regular wound care without
examining him in October 2017. Additionally, Dr. Thompson
offers no explanation as to why he denied ...