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Lattisaw v. Eastern Correctional Institution Wexford Health Sources Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 21, 2016

DARRELL LATTISAW
v.
EASTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., RUTH PINKNEY, & NANCY BEALER[1]

          MEMORANDUM

          Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge.

         Pending is a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of defendants Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), Ruth Pinkney, P.A., and Nancy Bealer, R.N. ECF 14. Also pending is a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of defendant Eastern Correctional Institution (“ECI”). ECF 16. Plaintiff Darrell Lattisaw has responded. ECF 18. Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the court finds an oral hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, the dispositive motions, construed as motions for summary judgment, will be granted.

         Background

         A. Lattisaw’s claims

         On July 13, 2015, Lattisaw, who is incarcerated at ECI, filed a self-represented civil rights complaint against ECI, Wexford, Pinkney, and Bealer, alleging that Pinkney tricked him into a blood test based upon the promise that if he took the blood test, the doctor would allow him to go to a hospital to see a “foot doctor.” ECF No. 1, 3. Lattisaw alleges that despite submitting to the blood test, he has not been treated at a hospital. Id. He states that his feet are crippled and that Pinkney “see[s] the pain and suffering.” Id.

         B. Defendants’ Claims

         The defendants indicate that the plaintiff suffers from diabetes for which he is regularly seen in the chronic care clinic by physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. ECF 14-5, ¶5. Lattisaw’s plan of care regarding his diabetes includes a diabetic diet, insulin, and daily finger-sticks to check his blood-glucose to determine whether additional insulin is required to manage his condition. Id.

         The plaintiff is noncompliant with his plan of treatment. Id. Since July 1, 2012, he has refused finger-stick tests and/or insulin on at least 274 occasions. Id. He also refused to have his blood drawn for testing on at least 18 occasions and has refused a diabetic diet. Id. Medical staff have routinely advised him regarding the risks inherent in his refusal to comply with the recommended course of treatment. Id. Lattisaw has repeatedly and regularly been educated as to how diabetes can affect his health, including the health of his feet. Id. Due to his diabetes, he is at risk for neuropathy and poor circulation. Id. Diabetes also places him at a greater risk for complications related to common foot problems, such as callouses, blisters, and dry or cracked heels. Id. These conditions can lead to painful non-healing wounds, which can then lead to infection. Id. He has been instructed that control of his diabetes is necessary to maintain the health of his feet and has been advised to seek medical evaluation for his foot complaints. Id.

         The plaintiff was evaluated by Pinkney on December 29, 2014, during a chronic care visit. ECF 14-4, 1-2; ECF 14-5, ¶ 6. At that time, Lattisaw reported taking his prescribed Metformin but refusing to take his prescribed Levemir because he believed his blood sugars were too low when taking Levemir. ECF 14-4, 1; ECF 14-5, ¶ 6. Pinkney noted that the plaintiff “has been refusing insulin, getting bloodwork done and uses his Metformin when he ‘feels his blood sugars are high.’” ECF 14-4, 1; ECF 14-5 ¶ 6. Pinkney educated him on the importance of bloodwork. Id. She examined his feet and noted the skin on both heels was cracked. ECF 14-4, 2; ECF 14-5 ¶ 6. No edema was observed. Id. Lattisaw agreed to urinalysis but refused to have his blood drawn. Id. Urinalysis showed high glucose levels. ECF 14-5 ¶ 6. There is no notation in the record that he was told he would be referred to a foot doctor or sent to a hospital. ECF 14-4, 1-2; ECF 14-5 ¶ 6.

         The following week, the plaintiff was evaluated by Charlotte Townley, R.N. regarding his diabetes and was again educated about the need for compliance with his treatment plan and monitoring for his diabetes. ECF 14-4, 3; ECF 14-5, ¶ 7. Lattisaw said he did not care, that his conduct was how he managed his diabetes “on the streets.” Id.

         He was seen by Oriaku Ijoma, R.N.P. on March 23, 2015, for a chronic care visit regarding his diabetes. ECF 14-4, 4-5; ECF 14-5, ¶ 8. It was noted that he was noncompliant with his medication and diet. ECF 14-4, 4. He consented to have his blood drawn that day. ECF 14-4, 4; ECF 14-5, ¶ 8. Ijoma also noted that Lattisaw had lost 19 pounds since 2013, and the plaintiff reported dry, cracked skin on his left heel. Id. The heel appeared ashy and cracked, and he was provided moisturizing lotion. Id.

         Lattisaw was evaluated the following week by Ben Oteyza, M.D. ECF 14-4, 6-7; ECF 14-5, ¶ 9. It was again noted that he had refused treatment for his diabetes in the past but appeared more amenable to treatment. ECF 14-4, 6; ECF 14-5, ¶ 9. His extremities appeared normal, and he was provided moisturizing lotion and Vitamin A and D ointment. ECF 14-4, 7; ECF 14-5, ¶ 9.

         Ellen Moyer, R.N. examined the plaintiff on April 4, 2015, due to his complaint of calluses on his feet. ECF 14-4, 8-9; ECF 14-5, ¶ 10. Lattisaw reported he was to receive foot soaks per Dr. Oteyza’s order, but Moyer noted no such order in his chart. ECF 14-4, 8; ECF 14-5, ¶ 10. She directed him to continue using the ointment on his feet as necessary. ECF 14-4, 9; ECF 14-5, ¶ 10.

         Lattisaw was seen by Pinkney on April 16, 2015, for a scheduled visit related to his feet. ECF 14-4, 10-11; ECF 14-5, ¶ 11. The plaintiff reported that he tried to shave the callus off his right foot. ECF 14-4, 10; ECF 14-5, ¶ 11. Pinkney also observed a callus on the plaintiff’s left foot. Id. Lattisaw stated that he had been using boots after throwing out his sneakers. Id. He was diagnosed with an abrasion and a foot/toe infection. Id. Lattisaw was provided Ibuprofen and Bactrim. Id. He was advised to change his shoes to reduce pressure on his right toe. ECF 14-4, 11; ECF 14-5, ¶ 11. Pinkney also ordered x-rays of the plaintiff’s right foot. Id. Lattisaw declined to have his feet shaved during the visit. Id. The ...


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