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Patterson v. Gladhill

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

August 27, 2013

GLADHILL, et al., Defendants.


DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Pending is the motion of Corizon, Inc.[1] and Ginny Hendershot (the "Medical Defendants") to Dismiss, or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 26. Plaintiff has responded (ECF No. 35) and Medical Defendants have replied. ECF No. 37. 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 stated below, the dispositive motion filed by the Medical Defendants will be granted.


Plaintiff states that while incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, on September 24, 2011, his finger was amputated when it was caught in a steel grill.[2] He was taken to a local hospital emergency room where Dr. Herrera reattached the finger and prescribed pain medication and daily dressing changes. Plaintiff claims that from May 27-June 6 and June 8-10, 2012, he was denied daily dressing changes by Corizon employees. Plaintiff further alleges that on those same dates, Nurse Ginny Hendershot was responsible for making sure the recommendations of the plastic surgeon for daily dressing changes were followed. Plaintiff alleges Hendershot breached her responsibility to Plaintiff by denying him the prescribed medical treatment. Plaintiff states that Hendershot's breach of duty caused excessive and unnecessary pain and suffering as a result of the dirty wound. He states that he met with Dr. Thompson on June 11, 2012, and Nurse Heather changed the dressing on that date. ECF No. 1.

Plaintiff also states that on June 11, 2012, he met with correctional employees concerning the many complaints he had filed detailing the interference of correctional employees with his prescribed medical treatment. Plaintiff states that at that time Captain Manuel produced a letter signed by Ginny Hendershot which indicated the order for daily dressing changes had been discontinued. Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance against Hendershot and she quit or was terminated shortly thereafter. Id.

The medical records demonstrate the Plaintiff was seen repeatedly and monitored for his finger injury during 2011 and 2012. ECF No. 26, Ex. 2, p. 56-76, 86-91, 97-102. Plaintiff was evaluated by Hendershot on May 31, 2012. It was noted that the wound was healing with no signs or symptoms of infection noted.[3] Id., p. 78. Plaintiff's wound care monitoring log indicates that he was seen on May 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31, 2012 for wound care treatment. Id., p. 58, 97. Plaintiff medical records indicate he refused treatment on June 1, 2012, in order to attend religious services.[4] Id., p. 2, 79, 81. Plaintiff was next evaluated by Dr. Thompson on June 7, 2012, who found the wound clean, dry and healing. Id., p. 80-82. On June 11, 2012, Laura Smith, RN, noted the wound dressing was clean, dry and intact. The wound site was covered with clear mesh per the surgeon's instruction and covered with silvelon. Smith noted the wound was cleaned with hibiclens and wrapped with coban.[5] Id., p. 3, 83.

Plaintiff's wound was examined and the bandage changed on June 13, 14 and 17, 2012. Id., p. 84-86, 97. Plaintiff failed to appear for physical examination and wound care on June 18, 20, and 22, 2012. Id. p. 92-94. The wound was inspected on June 25 and 26, 2012. Id., p. 97. Plaintiff was seen on June 27, 2012, for an off-site consultation regarding the finger injury. Id., p. 12, 95. Plaintiff's dressing was changed on June 28 and 30, 2012. Id., 96-97. On June 27, 2012 and July 19, 2012, it was noted by Plaintiff's surgeon that the injury was well-healed and Plaintiff should continue the use of coban wrapping for 8 months after the date of surgery.[6] Id. p. 11-12, 15.

Hendershot avers that she treated Plaintiff appropriately and within the appropriate standard of care. Id., Ex. 1. Hendershot explains that she was not responsible for assuring that Plaintiff was presented to the medical department every day for dressing changes. Rather, correctional officers brought Plaintiff to the medical unit. She states that when Plaintiff presented to her for dressing changes she either changed the dressing or assisted Plaintiff in doing so per his request. She avers that she did not refuse or deny Plaintiff treatment. Id.

Plaintiff states that after he filed complaints to the medical grievance coordinator his wound care appointment was changed from the evening shift to the morning shift so that he would not have to be seen by Hendershot. ECF No. 35.

Standard of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted does not require defendant to establish "beyond doubt" that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561 (2007). Once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint. Id. at 563. The court need not, however, accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, see United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

B. Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) ...

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