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Bailey v. Wexford Medical Service

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 10, 2014



CATHERINE C. BLAKE, District Judge.

On October 9, 2013, the court received this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint from Yancey Ezra Sheridon Bailey, an inmate housed at the Allegany County Detention Center in Cumberland, Maryland. Bailey contends that while housed at a Maryland prison in July 2013, he twice cut his right wrist, was refused the ability to obtain "proper medical treatment" at an outside hospital, and was only provided sutures by an in-prison nurse. (ECF No. 1, at 4, 5.) He claims that when seen by a hospital physician one week later, he was told that nothing could be done, but was referred to a plastic surgeon. Bailey states he could not feel his finger. ( Id. at 5.) He seeks plastic surgery, along with $1, 500, 000.00 in compensatory and punitive damages. ( Id. at 3.)

The defendant, Wexford Medical Service ("Wexford"), has filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment, as well as a motion to seal. Bailey was notified of his rights and obligations to file responsive pleadings pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), and granted an extension of time to do so, ( see ECF Nos. 14, 16, 17), but has not filed opposition materials. No hearing is needed to resolve the issues presented. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For reasons to follow, Wexford's dispositive motion, treated as a motion for summary judgment, will be granted, and Wexford's motion to seal will be granted in part and denied in part.


Bailey's medical history includes asthma, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summ. J., ECF No. 13-4, at 1-3.) He also suffers from chronic obesity, hyperlipidemia, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, and hyperthyroidism. ( Id. ) On June 24, 2013, Bailey was seen for a mental health screening at the Maryland Reception & Diagnostic Center ("MRDCC"). He had received mental health medications such as Celexa, Valproic Acid, Depakote ER, and Ativan Perphenazine[1] when confined in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services from 2006 to 2013. ( Id. at 7.) Bailey had attempted suicide while incarcerated in 1999 and 2009. ( Id. )

On June 26, 2013, Bailey was seen by a nurse for a health assessment. ( Id. at 10-13.) He was found to be in no acute distress and was scheduled to be seen in the Chronic Care Clinic ("CCC"). The following day on June 27, 2013, Bailey filed a sick-call claim alleging he hurt his right arm doing pushups. ( Id. at 14.) He was seen by Nurse Andrea James, who found Bailey alert and oriented. No acute distress was noted and Bailey was able to move his fingers without difficulty. He was given an ice pack and Naproxen[2] for discomfort. ( Id. )

On June 28, 2013, Bailey was seen by Nurse Roslyn Deshields in response to his claim that he had been sexually assaulted the previous night. ( Id. at 15.) No visible signs of bruising were observed, but he was transferred to Mercy Hospital for examination. He was seen for the alleged sexual assault and right arm pain, which he attributed to several plates placed in his arm due to a fracture he had experienced a few years earlier from flying through a windshield in a car accident. ( Id. at 205-22.) The only finding noted by medical personnel was of tenderness to Bailey's right arm. An x-ray was performed of his right forearm, which showed no abnormalities except for the plate hardware noted by Bailey during his examination. ( Id. )

On June 29, 2013, however, Bailey was seen by Physician's Assistant (PA) Chukwuka Bosah at MRDCC because he had attempted suicide by using a razor from his hygiene kit to cut a five centimeter superficial laceration into the radial region of his right hand. ( Id. at 19-23.) He stated he was suicidal because he had been sexually assaulted by his cellmate and he acknowledged suicidal ideation and prior attempted suicides. Moderate bleeding was revealed. The psychology department was notified and it ordered Bailey placed in the Inpatient Mental Health Unit ("IMHU") with only a smock and mattress. He was to be seen by the IMHU psychiatrist. Bailey received sutures for his wound. (Aff. of Dr. Thomas Ottey, ECF No. 13-5, ¶ 6.)

On July 1, 2013, Bailey was seen by a PA in the IMHU for a health assessment. (ECF No. 13-4, at 24-26.) Aside from the laceration to his wrist and the accompanying sutures, his condition was found to be stable. The next day, he was seen by a nurse after stating he had back pain due to a recent fall. ( Id. at 27-28.) No note was made that he complained of any wrist pain. On July 3, 2013, Bailey was transferred back to MRDCC at 8:00 p.m. At intake, his right inner wrist was observed to be reddened and swollen, and the suture area was weeping. ( Id. at 29.) On July 4, 2013, a nurse saw him after he injured his right hand by hitting his cell wall. ( Id. at 30-31.) His right knuckle was swollen and tender with skin abraded off in a one-inch circle. Bailey was informed that due to the fact there were no mid-level personnel available, a visit would be scheduled the next day. His hand was wrapped in an ACE bandage and he was given Motrin and an ice pack. Four hours later, Bailey was seen by a nurse due to his complaint that in the IMHU the previous day, another inmate held a "shank" to Bailey's neck while sexually assaulting him. ( Id. at 32.) Bailey had no bruises or marks on his throat. He was placed in protective custody.

On July 5, 2014, Bailey was seen by Nurse Carolyn White for an unscheduled visit due to this allegation of sexual assault. ( Id. at 33.) No objective or subjective physical trauma was noted and Bailey did not complain of pain. He was later transported for an examination at Mercy Hospital, where he was seen by Dr. Semhar Tewelde, who observed that Bailey had a right-side forearm and hand splint which was intact. ( Id. at 223-30.) It was noted that Bailey had been treated the previous week for a prior reported sexual assault and had also been treated for a "boxer's fracture" for which he had been given a splint.

Upon his return from Mercy Hospital, Bailey complained of pain in his right hand from "shadow boxing" in his cell the previous night and hitting the wall. ( Id. at 36-38.) His right hand was observed to have a mildly reduced range of motion. His sutures were intact, but the area was inflamed. No drainage was observed. He was given anti-bacterial ointment, an ice pack, and pain medication. Nurse Deshields ordered a follow-up x-ray of Bailey's right hand and wound care so Bailey would be treated daily with a topical ointment and sterile dressing. ( Id. )

On July 9, 2013, Bailey was seen by Dr. Virendra Chhunchha to review the x-rays of his right hand and forearm. ( Id. at 42.) No acute fracture was noted and he was advised to continue his wound care and to avoid self harm. The following day, Bailey was again seen by Dr. Chhunchha in the CCC. ( Id. at 44.) The physician noted Bailey's stitches were ready to be removed. ( Id. at 44-47.) Bailey's swelling had reduced, the area was healing well, and the range of motion was good. The stitches were removed without difficulty and a topical antibacterial ointment was applied. ( Id. )

On July 12, 2013, however, Bailey was seen for an unscheduled nursing visit for cutting his wrist with a razor in the same place as his previous attempt on June 29, 2013.[3] ( Id. at 48.) The wound was deeper on this occasion and roughly four inches in diameter. ( Id. at 48-49.) The wound was cleaned and sterile strips and a dry dressing were applied to the site. Medical staff was informed that Bailey was not to be left alone and was to remain in the presence of a staff member until all evaluations were completed. He was medically cleared later that day after sutures were placed in his wrist, and was also cleared by the psychology department to be transferred to the IMHU. ( Id. at 50-52.) When seen in the IMHU for medical clearance on July 14, 2013, Bailey indicated he was suicidal and had swallowed two razors during that day's lunch. ( Id. at 53-55.) The physical examination was within normal limits, but a follow-up x-ray was ordered to determine if Bailey had in fact swallowed any foreign objects. ( Id. at 54.) He was to be continued on IMHU housing, was cleared for psychological evaluation, and his wrist wound was to be treated twice daily.

On July 15, 2013, Bailey was seen by a PA. A preliminary x-ray ruled out any razor in the colon and Bailey reported passing the plastic-contained razors without any colon or bowel irritation. ( Id. at 56-57.) Upon examination of his wrist, it was observed that Bailey's sutures were loose. Sterile strips were applied to the wound, to be removed after 10 days and dressing changes were to be ...

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