United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.
Self-represented plaintiff James Magnoletta Green is suing Corizon, Inc., ("Corizon"), formerly known as Correctional Medical Services, Inc., in this prisoner civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendant, by its counsel, has filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 22). Green was notified that Corizon's response will be treated as a motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 23) and granted additional time to file an opposition with materials in support pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d. 309 (4th Cir. 1975). Green has filed oppositions (ECF Nos. 24 and 27) to which Defendant has responded (ECF 25). The matter is fully briefed and a hearing is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For reasons to follow, Corizon's motion for summary judgment will be granted.
A. Plaintiff's Allegations
Green, who is an inmate at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown (MCI-H), claims he was provided inadequate medical treatment by Corizon, the contractual health care provider at MCI-H. (ECF No. 1 at 3). Green is seeking compensatory and punitive damages totaling $7.5 million.
On September 9, 2011, Green submitted a sick call slip for complaints of vomiting, stomach problems, loss of appetite and weight, dizziness, fatigue, breathing problems, and "flu-like" symptoms. (ECF No. 1 at 4, ECF 24 at 2). Green states that by the time he was seen by a health provider on September 13 or 14, 2011, he told the provider he had developed a "bloody cough." Green claims the medical department refused to see him for approximately the next two weeks. (ECF No. 24 at 2). On September 23, 2011, "Nurse Debbie" conducted a "glance-over" examination, informed Green that he had bronchitis, and sent him back to his housing unit. (ECF 1 at 4; ECF 26 at 1-2). Green faults the health providers for being "focused [sic] on my sickness being bronchitis, " noting the "staff failed miserably in securing me immediate treatment or a proper diagnosis." (ECF No. 26 at 2). On September 26, 2011, Sgt. William Vinson, the tier officer, became concerned about Green's condition and had him "carted" up to the medical department. (ECF No. 4 at 2-3). Green has submitted an affidavit executed by Sgt Vinson, which states in part:
I was the officer on duty at the North Dorm Housing Unit during the approximate 2 weeks in question, between 9/14/11 through 9/26/11. Upon my noticing the rapid deterioration of Mr. James Green i.d. # 339-719, I on several occasions called the MCI-Hagerstown Infirmary out of concern for Mr. Green's health. I witnessed him coughing up blood in large clumps during that time, as well as, his difficulty breathing. Nevertheless, each time that I called he was denied access to the infirmary for whatever reasons. This happened until which time I felt as though he needed immediate medical treatment, then I had him rushed up to the infirmary despite their initial denials for the much needed and requested, medical attention, in fear for Mr. Green's life.
ECF 24 at 6.
Green asserts that he was in fact suffering from a "walking pneumonia" and pulmonary embolus, and was despite his deteriorating condition denied access to proper treatment by an unnamed onsite physician and an outside medical professional for two and one-half weeks after onset.
On September 27, 2011, Green was admitted to Bon Secours Hospital. He was readmitted in October of 2011 for cardio-myopathy. Id. at 3. Green states that it was discovered that his "heart's ability to pump blood throughout my body had significantly decreased to 20% function instead of the normal 75%." Green states that his heart will never return to normal function.
B. Defendant's Response
Corizon has filed the affidavit of Sadik Ali, M.D., who was Medical Director at MCI-H in September of 2011, with verified copies of Green's medical records to support its Motion for Summary Judgment. The records show Green was initially diagnosed with pneumonia and pulmonary emboli in September 2011. He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy with congestive heart failure in October 2011. ECF No. 22, Exhibit 1, ¶¶ 4 and 5. Dr. Ali attests that Corizon health providers appropriately referred Green to the hospital for diagnosis and emergency care during 2011 and 2012, carrying out hospital discharge instructions and obtaining the necessary follow-up consultations and referrals through utilization management. Id. at ¶ 5.
In his affidavit, Dr. Ali explains that cardiomyopathy is a disease that decreases the heart's ability to pump blood, and is not caused by pneumonia or pulmonary embolism. Id. Green's cardiomyopathy is non-ischemic; it is not caused by coronary artery disease. A patient with cardiomyopathy may have no symptoms or symptoms similar to common illnesses such as a cold or the flu. Diagnosis is typically made by physical examination, blood tests, x-ray and/or an echocardiogram. Id. This equipment is not available at MCI-H. Green underwent cardiac testing at Meritus Medical Center and Bon Secours Hospital during three hospital admissions in September and October 2011. Id. at ¶¶ 9, 10, and 12.
Green's records show that he submitted a sick call request complaining of stomach problems, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms on September 9, 2011. (Exhibit 1 ¶ 6). On September 13, 2011, Robert Schwartz, R.N that Green indicated the onset of these problems occurred on September 9, 2011. ECF No. 22, Exhibit 2 at 303. The nurse determined Green had a cold and weakness and recommended Organidin, a cough suppressant, ...