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Koenig v. Wexford Medical Services

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 30, 2014

BRUCE KOENIG, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD MEDICAL SERVICES COLIN OTTEY AVA JOUBERT GREG FLURY UNKNOWN TRIAGE NURSES, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

J. FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.

Pending is defendants' motion for summary judgment, which remains unopposed.[1] ECF No. 11. Plaintiff has filed a motion to amend, solely seeking to modify the names of two defendants. ECF No. 18. The motion shall be granted.[2] Upon review of the pleadings filed, I find a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).

Background

Plaintiff, an inmate confined at Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), alleges that he has been denied treatment for his conditions, which includes Meniere's disease, autoimmune degenerative spinal disease, a torn rotator cuff, sciatica, neuropathy, and vertigo. Plaintiff claims that physician's orders issued in early 2012, were cancelled after his previous civil rights case was dismissed.[3] ECF No. 1. Defendants provide in excess of 145 pages of medical records and defendant Ottey's affidavit in support of their motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 7. They assert that Plaintiff is a 65-year old male under care at the Chronic Care Clinic ("CCC") with a medical history significant for hyperlipidemia, dermatitis, depressive disorder, asthma, hypertension, chronic pain, arthritis, bowel and bladder incontinence, and Meniere's disease.[4] ECF No. 7 at Ex. 1; Ex. 2 at Ottey affidavit. The record shows that plaintiff was evaluated in the North Branch Correctional Institution CCC for asthma, hypertension and chronic pain. He was prescribed Gabapentin or Neurontin, and Motrin for his discomfort. In January of 2013, he received a renewal of his special needs physician directives for his bottom-tier bunk/lower tier and no-work orders for non-clerical duties. In February of 2013, plaintiff was seen by Dr. Ottey for a scheduled provider visit regarding his chronic pain. He was continued on his pain medication and encouraged to continue his self-management exercises. Id.

Throughout early 2013, plaintiff was continuously seen by prison nurses, physician's assistants ("PA"), and doctors. He was examined for his requests of a renewal and an increase to his Neurontin medication, twice sought a new crutch/cane tip, voiced concerns about the adequacy and number of his medical supplies, and sought transdermal patches for his vertigo. His requests were accommodated, with the exception of the increase to his Neurontin and transdermal patches. The PA advised plaintiff that the current Neurontin dosage would be allowed to accumulate and that plaintiff would be reevaluated at his next CCC visit with laboratory results. Laboratory tests results, completed on May 25, 2013, were unremarkable. Plaintiff was informed that the contracted pharmacy would not approve the patches and he was referred to a physician for his transdermal patches and when seen in the CCC on June 13, 2013, he was found to be in no apparent distress and his current medications were continued and renewed. ECF No. 7, Ex. 1; Ex. 2 at Ottey affidavit.

The medical record provided by defendants shows that plaintiff's sick-call slips were responded to by medical personnel He requested an orthopedic chair or insert and to be seen for back pain by an orthopedic surgeon and was seen in the CCC for same on June 26, 2013. The evaluating PA noted that plaintiff had been seen in the Kernan Orthopedic facility in June of 2012, [5] where it was reported that plaintiff only had degenerative changes in his lumbar spine with no evidence of anklylosing spondylitis.[6] The PA noted that corrections staff reported that plaintiff already had a chair and that additional chairs were not issued at the discretion of medical staff. Finally, it was noted that plaintiff did not have a history of falling and that when previously seen by a doctor, no transdermal patch was recommended. Id.

Plaintiff requested renewal of his medical shower status and it was approved for another year by Dr. Ottey. He complained of Meniere's disease attacks, and when seen by a physician in the CCC in September of 2013, it was noted that his arthritis pain was generalized and aggravated by standing, walking, climbing stairs, and cold rainy weather. He was, however, able to ambulate with a cane. Plaintiff's musculoskeletal system showed no deformities, but he appeared unsteady. He was continued on his current pain management regimen. ECF No. 7, Ex. 1.

Plaintiff filed multiple sick-call slips seeking an orthopedic-style chair or insert for back pain and renewal of his medical assignments. On October 10, 2013, he was removed from the medical examination room by correctional officers for refusing to be seated when requested and was observed by prison custody staff to be walking around his cell without the use of his cane. Upon arrival in the medical examination room, however, he was observed to be stumbling and moving with an unsteady gait. Plaintiff refused to be seated and was removed by prison custody staff for refusing to follow orders and was returned to his cell. Id.

He continued to file sick-call slips in November of 2013, for pain in his neck, shoulder, back, left hip and knee and both feet. On November 5, 2013, plaintiff was seen by a prison nurse, who observed that he was "alert and oriented, " but had him removed from the medical examination room because he refused to answer medical assessment questions. The nurse indicated that plaintiff responded to prison custody personnel standing a sizeable distance away, but "pretends" to have a hearing impairment when with medical staff. She further noted that plaintiff's CCC medications were current and that he was only seeking non-chronic care medications of Neurontin and Meclizine.[7] Id., Ex. 1.

On November 19, 2013, plaintiff was seen by a PA, who noted that plaintiff was not suffering from bone or joint pain or swelling and that he observed no weakness. Plaintiff passed an audiometry[8] exam in both his ears, was found to have normal musculature with no skeletal tenderness or joint deformity, and no edema or cyanosis was noted in his extremities. His current medications were continued and he was advised to follow his exercise program. He was also seen by a prison nurse for medical supplies and medication renewals on November 22, 2013. He was referred to a provider for his medication renewal. On November 25, 2013 laboratory samples were collected and the results were found to be normal. ECF No. 7, Ex. 1.

On December 3, 2013, plaintiff was seen by a PA for a CCC visit for his asthma, hypertension, gastro-esophageal reflux ("GERD") and allergies. The physical examination showed no objective findings of distress. Plaintiff was continued on his current medication regime and it was recommended that he continue his exercise program. He was seen by a nurse on December 11, 2013, for his complaints of back and knee pain, shoulder discomfort, and vertigo. He was provided with a hot and cold compress. Id., Ex. 1.

On January 14, 2014, plaintiff was transferred to WCI. At his medical screening he was approved for general population and referred for further assessment. His medications were transferred with him the day of his movement. On February 11, 2014, he was seen in the CCC by a WCI nurse. He voiced no complaints regarding pain or medical assignments and his medications were renewed, including the Meclizine. Lab work was ordered. Six days later plaintiff was seen for complaints of allergies, pain, and dry skin and he sought to renew the Neurontin medication which had been discontinued in November of 2013. He was referred for evaluation and seen by a nurse practitioner on February 19, 2014, for complaints of pain in his lower back, which radiated down his legs. He requested Neurontin. A non-formulary request for Gabapentin was placed. Id. Plaintiff was seen by a physician on March 11, 2014, due to his back pain. The physical examination evinced no objective abnormalities. Plaintiff was continued on his medications.

Analysis

Eighth ...


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