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Oxendine v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 14, 2017




         Shaun P. Oxendine, currently confined at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland, alleges that Defendants failed to provide him with adequate medical care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford") and Yonas Sisay, M.D ("Dr. Sisay").[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, shall be granted.


         I. Medical Treatment

         On February 3, 2014, Oxendine, who had been assigned to Baltimore County Detention Center, underwent intake medical screening at the Maryland Reception and Diagnostic and Classification Center ("MRDCC".. At the time, Oxendine had a medical history of constipation, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. During the screening, Oxendine did not complain of either abdominal or hernia-related pain. The following day, during a health assessment by Grace Emasea1u, a nurse practitioner, he reported a history of gastrointestinal reflux, chronic constipation, and a right inguinal hernia. The nurse practitioner recommended that he continue to receive medication for esophageal reflux and Metamucil for constipation and that he increase his intake of fluids and the amount of fiber in his diet. During a chronic care visit on February 11, 2014 with Dr. Virenda Chhunchha, Oxendine did not report any nausea or vomiting, but told the doctor that Metamuci1 and Co1ace were ineffective to treat his chronic constipation. Du1co1ax and magnesium citrate were then added to his medication regimen. On February 25, 2014, Oxendine was transferred from MRDCC to Jessup Correctional Institution ("JCI").

         Oxendiness medical records reflect no complaints of abdominal pain or other gastrointesiinal issues until Apri116, 2014, when he was evaluated by Dr. Sisay during a chronic care clinic. In response to his request for medication to treat constipation, Dr. Sisay prescribed Lactulose and Metamucil. Then, on June 12, 2014, during a visit with Danielle Jones, R.N., Oxendine reported, "I think I have a stomach virus" and revealed that he had diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 17, ECF No. 15. The nurse directed him to take Phenergan and Tylenol. Later that day, Lum Maximuangu, a nurse practitioner, examined Oxendine and found that he had abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting but could not recall a trigger for the discomfort. The nurse practitioner diagnosed Oxendine as suffering from acute gastroenteritis, prescribed Tylenol and Promethazine, and advised Oxendine to refrain from work and heavy lifting and to take only clear liquids until the morning.

         The next month, on July 4, 2014, Oxendine submitted a sick call request in which he reported hernia-related pain, among other issues. On July 11, 2014, during a visit with Dr. Sisay, Oxendine did not shown signs of bowel and bladder incontinence or abdominal tenderness. Likewise, during a chronic care visit on August 18, 2014 with Dr. Bolaji Onabajo, Oxendine did not complain of any abdominal pain or issues other than constipation, for which he was continuing to take Dulcolax.

         There are no further medical records reflecting complaints about abdominal issues until October 2014. On October 5, 2014, four days after he had submitted another sick call request Oxendine saw Nurse Maximuangu and complained of constipation and hernia-related pain. He reported that the Du1colax did not help his constipation and requested milk of magnesia, which he was provided. Oxendine also complained of abdominal tenderness. Although the nurse could not palpate the hernia, a hernia belt was recommended. He was placed on a high fiber diet and directed to refrain from work and heavy lifting. On October 10, 2014, when Dr. Sisay evaluated Oxendine, he did not complain of incontinence or show signs of abdominal tenderness, but Dr. Sisay identified a small reducible hernia.

         The following month, Oxendine's condition worsened. On November 2, 2014, Oxendine sought medical treatment after he reported nausea and vomiting that had begun overnight. He believed that his right upper abdominal quadrant was swollen and described his pain as a three out of ten, with ten being the highest. An examination revealed no swelling or tenderness in Oxendiness right upper abdomen. Oxendine agreed to eat breakfast but then vomited at the clinic. The nurse provided him with acetaminophen, an ice pack, Pepto Bismol, and Phenergan. However, his abdominal pain continued, and he vomited again. When Oxendine returned to the medical clinic, he had sharp pain in his upper right abdomen that occurred randomly and was aggravated by movemen. The physicianss assistant who examined him consulted with a doctor and sent Oxendine to the emergency room at Bon Secours Hospital ("BSH"). At BSH, Oxendine was diagnosed with acute cholecystitis and underwent successful surgery to remove his gall bladder. On November 6, 2014, he was discharged and advised to resume his normal diet and medication,, educated about surgical wound care, and advised to avoid strenuous activities.

         Upon his return to JCI on November 7, 2014, he was evaluated by Nurse Maximuangu. Oxendine had no difficulty eating, the surgical site was cleaned and dressed, and there was no sign of infection. Oxendine did, however, report abdominal tenderness, and he was prescribed pain medication. He was then returned to the general population, at his request. On November 17, 2014, Oxendine complained to Dr. Sisay about abdominal soreness, but there was no nausea or vomiting, and his surgical incision had healed. Dr. Sisay refilled Oxendiness prescription for Tylenol 3 and requested a consultation for a post-surgical follow up visit.

         Oxendine had a post-surgical follow-up visit at BSH on December 11, 2014. The BSH physician noted that the wound had healed well and that no follow up was required relating to the surgery, but recommended follow up for his inguinal hernia. On January 5, 2015, Dr. Sisay evaluated Oxendine and observed no abdominal tenderness, but he noted the reducible inguinal hernia and placed an order for a hernia belt for Oxendine. Oxendine continued to receive pain medication to address post-surgical issues. Since the January 5, 2015 visit, Oxendine has not voiced any complaints to medical staff about abdominal or hernia-related pain, other than minor pain at his surgical site. According to Dr. Sisay, where Oxendine has a small, reducible inguinal hernia with minimal to no symptoms, surgery is not medically necessary.

         II. Procedural History

         On September 15, 2016, Oxendine filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1983. He alleges that, beginning on or about February to March 2014, he submitted a number of sick call requests complaining of pain in his abdomen and stomach. Oxendine asserts that he was misdiagnosed as having food poisoning, a stomach virus, and indigestion before he finally underwent the surgery at BSH to remove his gall bladder. According to Oxendine, the surgery itself was delayed for 11.5 hours because Dr. Sisay had failed to answer a call from a nurse seeking authorization for emergency surgery.

         Oxendine also claims that, following the surgery, he "could not use the bathroom, because [he] wasn't allowed the proper diet after surgery, " and that nothing was done about his diet until August 2015, despite his complaints that processed foods were complicating his medical condition. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF NO. .. According to Oxendine, Dr. Sisay did not schedule a requested follow-up visit 60 days after the surgery at BSH to address continued bloating, pain, and a hernia. Moreover, he asserts that prison medical staff have not addressed ...

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