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Parks v. Maryland Correctional Institution for Women

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 27, 2017

SHERRY S. PARKS, Plaintiff
v.
MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION FOR WOMEN, [1] DR. JAYA SINGHA, [2] WEXFORD HEALTH, [3] Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          James K. Bredar United States District Judge

         Under consideration are Sherry S. Parks's prisoner civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the unopposed motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment filed by counsel on behalf of defendant Dr. Jaya Singh. The matter is ready for disposition; no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).

         BACKGROUND

         On January 19, 2016, Sherry Parks filed this complaint pro se, alleging that since July of 2013, she has received inadequate medical care at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW) in violation of her constitutional rights. Parks complains that she suffers terrible back pain every day and constant numbness and tingling in her hands and fingers. She alleges that she was told to see a specialist and to start physical therapy and medications for pain management. ECF 1. She does not indicate, however, who recommended that she see a specialist and begin physical therapy. Parks asserts she is unable to properly clean herself after using the restroom and stains her undergarments. ECF No. 1 at 3. As relief, she asks for “medical care and medications that I need and deserve.” Id.

         DEFENDANT'S RESPONSE

         In support of the motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment, Jaya Singh, M.D., by her counsel, filed her affidavit and 97 pages of Parks's medical records. Parks does not controvert the exhibits.

         The exhibits demonstrate that Parks is a 44-year-old female inmate who is treated in the chronic care clinic for lower back pain as well as for other chronic medical conditions. ECF 7-3. Since July 12, 2013, when Parks entered MCIW and self-reported suffering chronic back pain due to scoliosis and a herniated disc managed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and Percocet, she has received ongoing evaluation, monitoring, and medications for back pain. Id; see also ECF 7-5 (Singh decl. ¶ 5).

         Dr. Singh, as well as Dr. Getachew Tefferra, M.D., nurse practitioners, and physicians' assistants, has examined Parks regularly at MCIW clinics and sick call for her complaints of back pain, and her later presented complaints of numbness and tingling in her fingers. Dr. Singh and other medical providers have prescribed medications, NSAIDS, analgesics, and muscle relaxants including Naproxen, Indomethacin, Robaxin, Tylenol Extra Strength 500 mg., and Baclofen. They have also cautioned Parks that NSAIDS may prompt gastrointestinal bleeding and other side effects and inquired regularly whether she is experiencing effects from the medication. Medical providers also adjusted Parks's medication dosages and suggested alternative medicines when she reported they provided ineffective pain relief. Medical providers ordered spinal x-rays that revealed no evidence of an acute fracture, dislocation, or subluxation. Additionally, they recommended an exercise program and weight loss for Parks to alleviate her back pain. ECF No. 7-4.

         In April of 2014, Park complained of numbness and tingling to both thumbs, index fingers, and middle fingers. Parks's condition was diagnosed as unrelated to her lower back condition, and she was provided wrist braces to alleviate the symptoms of tingling and numbness. Parks has since been noted as uncompliant with medical recommendations to wear the wrist braces. ECF No. 7-5 ¶ 9; ECF No. 7-4 at pp. 21-23.

         Parks's medical encounters specifically with defendant Singh are as follows: On October 11, 2013, Dr. Singh examined Parks at the chronic care clinic for back pain. Singh observed that Parkss' coordination and balance were intact and she sat comfortably on a chair. Parks denied injuring her back and asked for a renewal of the Indomethacin prescription. Parks was aware of the side effects of NSAIDS such as gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney failure, and ototoxicity. Parks's previous cervical spine x-ray revealed mild loss of vertebra body height and disc space generally and most evident at ¶ 5 and C6. Parks's foraminal openings were intact without compression on the nerves. Her evaluation revealed no abnormality in the lumbar curvature and negative posterior tenderness in the spine. Singh renewed Parks's Indomethacin and increased it to twice daily as needed. ECF No. 7-4 at pp. 13-16.

         On June 29, 2015, Dr. Singh examined Parks in the chronic care clinic for back pain and other conditions. Singh noted that Parks was not wearing the wrist braces that had been prescribed for her. Singh observed that Parks's gait, coordination, and balance were intact and that she sat comfortably on the chair. Parks denied any recent injury or change in her pain pattern. Parks demanded Indomethacin or a narcotic for her back pain. Singh noted that Parks's Tylenol prescription was still active and that Park was aware that the Indomethacin had been discontinued by another medical provider due to Parks's report of rectal bleeding. Parks became angry and argumentative and “briskly” left the examination room. Id. at p. 62.

         On September 4, 2015, Dr. Singh examined Parks in the chronic care clinic. Singh observed that Parks was not wearing her wrist braces and her gait, coordination, and balance were intact. Parks sat comfortably on a chair and denied any recent injury or change in her pain pattern. Singh reports that Parks demanded narcotics for her back pain. Parks stated she was a janitor who actively sweeps, mops, and carries trash. Parks was prescribed Tylenol and Robaxin. Parks became angry and argumentative, threatened legal action, slammed a heavy door, left the examination room briskly, and ran and yelled in the hallway. Id. at p. 73.

         On February 12, 2016, Singh examined Parks in the chronic care clinic. Parks stated that other medical providers had recently addressed her pain medication concerns. Parks was not wearing her wrist braces. Id. at p. 83.

         On May 13, 2016, Singh examined Parks who was not wearing her wrist braces. Parks stated that she was recently seen by another medical provider and all her concerns were answered. Parks requested refills of her prescriptions. Singh noted that Parks denied adhering to her prescribed medication regimen. Singh also recommended that Parks consider ...


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