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Williams v. Tessema

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

May 28, 2013

ISAIAS TESSEMA, et al., Defendants.


ALEXANDER WILLIAMS, Jr., District Judge.

Pending is a Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, filed on behalf of Defendants Tessema, Flury, Schindler, and Vickers. ECF No. 28. Plaintiff has responded. ECF Nos. 31, 32, 36, 38 & 47.[1] Defendants have replied. ECF No. 36. Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the Court finds an oral hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, the Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.


Williams, a self-represented inmate housed at the Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), initiated these proceedings alleging that he was denied adequate medical care. He states that in 2011 Defendant Greg Flury, P.A. prescribed a blister card of 400 mg tablets of Motrin. Plaintiff states that at that time he had been prescribed Hytrin by a prison doctor to treat Plaintiff's prostate problems. Plaintiff further states that in addition to prostate problems he has tested positive for Hepatitis C, and has been diagnosed with hypertension. He states that after taking the Motrin he began to suffer abdominal and chest pain and an increased heart rate. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Flury intentionally interfered with Plaintiff's serious medical need for chronic care treatment by prescribing mediation which adversely interacted with other medication prescribed to him. Plaintiff further alleges that the Motrin contributed to his urinating blood. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff also alleges that Flury prescribed Naproxen which should not have been prescribed along with Hytrin. Plaintiff alleges that taking the two medications together caused him pain and rendered him unable to hold his urine. ECF No. 19.

Plaintiff also alleges that on August 27, 2010, he was taken to Cumberland Medical Center and received stitches to his face and mouth after being in a serious altercation with an inmate while housed at the North Branch Correctional Institution. The treating physician advised prison officials that Plaintiff should be brought back to the Medical Center to have his stitches removed one week later. That same day, Plaintiff was taken to the WCI Medical Unit and was advised by Defendant Tessema that he would be taken to the Cumberland Medical Center in one week's time to have his stitches removed. Plaintiff states that his stitches became infected because they were not promptly and properly removed as directed by the treating physician. He states he was caused a lot of pain in his face and mouth due the "deprivation of care by doctor Tessema." Plaintiff state that on September 25, 2010, Lisa Schindler, P.A. prescribed penicillin to treat the infection in Plaintiff's mouth. Plaintiff states that the penicillin caused pain in his kidneys and liver and he urinated blood for three days. Plaintiff alleges that Schindler was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in prescribing such a strong dose of Penicillin given that he suffers from Hepatitis C. ECF No. 1.

Plaintiff also claims that Lisa Schindler prescribed Actifed, which caused prostate pain. Plaintiff advised Schindler of the pain but she told him to keep taking the Actifed and that the pain would go away. Plaintiff alleges that the pain in his prostate constituted a disregard for a substantial risk of harm to him. Id.

By way of amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he advised Leon Vickers in several written request that he was having problems with his "C.V.S. Medical Diet" which was being prepared by dietary staff with a lot of sugary products. He states that the meals were not sufficiently nutritious for someone suffering from Hepatitis C. He also alleges that there was too much salt in his food which caused his blood pressure "to be up most of the time" and Vickers failed to respond to Plaintiff's concerns. ECF No. 19.

Medical Records

A. Ibuprofen and Naprosyn[2]

The uncontroverted medical records demonstrate that ibuprofen was prescribed by P.A. Flury on April 15, 2011, in response to Plaintiff's complaint of chronic joint pain lasting approximately two months. ECF No. 28, Ex. 1, p. 133. Plaintiff was next seen on May 5, 2011 by Dennis Martin, R.N. Plaintiff did not complain of any of the symptoms he alleges in this complaint were caused by taking ibuprofen and Hytrin. Rather, he continued to complain of joint pain and was instructed to continue taking the ibuprofen. Id., p. 131. Plaintiff was again evaluated on May 12, 2011 and July 20, 2011. At no time did he offer any complaint or demonstrate any of the symptoms alleged in the Complaint. Id. p. 105-110.

Plaintiff was again prescribed ibuprofen on January 28, 2012, after he requested same. Id., p. 148. Plaintiff did not file any sick calls slips for abdominal, chest, kidney or liver pain, or increased heart rate after the ibuprofen was prescribed. The prescription was for 14 days and was not renewed. Id., p. 149-50.

After complaining of a fall in his cell, Plaintiff was prescribed Naprosyn on May 16, 2012. Id., p. 183-84. He requested a refill of the prescription on June 2, 2012, due to thumb and rib pain. Id., p. 19. The refill was ordered on June 4, 2012. On June 17, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a sick call slip complaining of pain. Id., p. 18. He was seen on June 20, 2012, and requested "something like Naprosyn to help it." The medication was prescribed as requested. Id. He was again prescribed Naprosyn on July 14, 2012, in response to his complaints of chronic joint pain. Id., p. 197. On July 20 and 24, 2012, Plaintiff claimed no side effects from Naprosyn. Id., p. 017, 209, 196-98. Flury noted that Plaintiff "related chronic hand pain" and that he had "taken naproxen in the past with beneficial results and denied med side effects." ECF No. 28, Ex., 1, p. 197.

On August 6 and 8, 2012, Plaintiff submitted sick call slips complaining of abdominal and chest pain which he attributed to Naprosyn. Id., p. 14-15, On August 14, 2012, Flury attempted to evaluate Plaintiff in response to his complaints of side effects; however, correctional staff advised Flury that Plaintiff refused to be evaluated. Id., p. 200. Medical records note that despite being counseled not to take the drug daily, Plaintiff was doing so. Flury therefore discontinued the prescription. Id. After the Naprosyn was discontinued Flury prescribed Plaintiff Tylenol. ECF No. 31, p. 4; see ECF No. 28, Ex. 1, p. 206. Plaintiff believes that Tylenol should have been prescribed to treat his joint pain, rather than Motrin or Naprosyn. Id. He also claims that he did not continue to take the ibuprofen or Naprosyn once he developed symptoms. ECF No. 38.

No drug interactions are listed on the PDR website between Hytrin[3] (Terazosin) and ibuprofen and naproxen. ECF No. 36, Ex. A. Plaintiff has provided a copy of a page from an undated book entitled "PDR Family Guide to Prescription Drugs, " which states in relevant part: "If Hytrin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Hytrin with the following: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Motrin and Naprosyn." ECF No. 38, ...

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