United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge.
Court has received Plaintiff's Amended Complaint together
with motions for appointment of counsel and for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff has also filed two
motions to compel his review of his medical records (ECF Nos.
9 and 10), and a motion for extension of time that was
improperly docketed under the wrong case number (ECF No.
11).Upon review, the Amended Complaint must be
dismissed. The Court grants Plaintiff's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis and denies the remaining motions.
Amended Complaint names as defendants Wexford Health Source,
Inc., Holly Pierce, NP, and Mahboob Ashraf, MD. ECF No. 6 at
p. 1. Plaintiff alleges that while under the care of Pierce
and Ashraf, he was diagnosed with hematuria (blood in his
urine) which has “caused issues with security as well
as cellmates.” Id. at p. 3. Plaintiff further
asserts that he is denied access to supplies, forcing him to
wear “contaminated clothing that have not been properly
cleaned” and hold such “contaminated clothing in
[his] cell for weeks at a time.” Id. at pp.
3-4. He avers that “medical” refused to provide
him with an requiring his assignment to a single cell, even
though it was known that his medical problem could cause
conflict with a cellmate due to the presence of “bloody
clothes, sheets, underclothes, cell area, sink, toilet,
floor, etc.” Id. at p. 4. As remedy, Plaintiff
requests laundry detergent. ECF No. 6-1 at p. 1. Plaintiff
has been told that no pending medical order exists for him to
receive additional laundry detergent, and thus he must make a
welfare request for laundry detergent in light of his
second claim is that on March 4, 2017, “medical
personnel removed information from the medical
computer” which notes that he is “allergic to . .
. Tylenol, Motrin, and Aspirin.” ECF No. 6 at p. 6.
Plaintiff more particularly asserts that Defendants were
forcing him to take one or more of these medications to treat
his chronic pain, which has resulted in rashes. Id.
When plaintiff complained about the information being
removed, Defendant Holly Pierce responded that information
had initially been added in error and then said it had been
removed based on a conversation she had with Plaintiff.
Id. at pp. 6-7. Plaintiff implies these responses
further alleges that Holly Pierce runs a drug treatment
program outside of the prison, that Pierce discontinued
Plaintiff's prescribed pain medication, and Defendant Dr.
Ashraf refused to monitor the situation. ECF 6 at p. 8.
Records submitted with the supplemental complaint indicate
that Plaintiff was taken off Tramadol due to his hematuria.
ECF 6-1 at p. 10. Further, the medical records reflect that
Plaintiff's reported “allergic reaction” was
his attempt to induce the medical staff to resume prescribing
him Tramadol for his arthritis pain. Id.
Amended Complaint most closely sounds in alleged substandard
medical care constituting cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States
Constitution. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 173
(1976). “Scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment is not
limited to those punishments authorized by statute and
imposed by a criminal judgment.” De'Lonta v.
Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003) citing
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S.294, 297 (1991). To state
an Eighth Amendment claim for denial of medical care, a
plaintiff must demonstrate that Defendants' acts or
omissions in medical treatment amount to deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. See Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). “Deliberate
indifference is a very high standard - a showing of mere
negligence will not meet it. . . . [T]he Constitution is
designed to deal with deprivations of rights, not errors in
judgments, even though such errors may have unfortunate
consequences. . . . To lower this threshold would thrust
federal courts into the daily practices of local police
departments.” Grayson v. Peed, 195 F.3d 692,
695- 96 (4th Cir. 1999).
indifference to a serious medical need requires proof that,
objectively, the prisoner plaintiff was suffering from a
serious medical need of which, subjectively, the prison staff
were aware, but failed to either provide medical care or
ensure care was available. See Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). Objectively, the medical condition
at issue must be serious. See Hudson v. McMillian,
503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (there is no expectation that prisoners
will be provided with unqualified access to health care).
Proof of an objectively serious medical condition, however,
does not end the inquiry.
subjective component requires “subjective
recklessness” in the face of the serious medical
condition. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 839B 40.
“True subjective recklessness requires knowledge both
of the general risk, and also that the conduct is
inappropriate in light of that risk.” Rich v.
Bruce, 129 F.3d 336, 340 n. 2 (4th Cir. 1997).
“Actual knowledge or awareness on the part of the
alleged inflicter . . . becomes essential to proof of
deliberate indifference ‘because prison officials who
lacked knowledge of a risk cannot be said to have inflicted
punishment.'” Brice v. Virginia Beach
Correctional Center, 58 F.3d 101, 105 (4th Cir. 1995)
quoting Farmer 511 U.S. at 844. If the requisite
subjective knowledge is established, an official may avoid
liability “if [he] responded reasonably to the risk,
even if the harm was not ultimately averted.” See
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 844. Reasonableness of the actions
taken must be judged in light of the risk the defendant
actually knew at the time. See Brown v. Harris, 240
F.3d 383, 390 (4th Cir. 2000); citing Liebe v.
Norton, 157 F.3d 574, 577 (8th Cir. 1998) (focus must be
on precautions actually taken in light of suicide risk, not
those that could have been taken). A health care provider
must have actual knowledge of a serious condition, not just
knowledge of the symptoms. Johnson v. Quinones, 145
F.3d 164, 168 (4th Cir. 1998). Mere negligence or malpractice
does not rise to a constitutional level. Russell v.
Sheffer, 528 F.2d 318, 319 (4th Cir. 1975); Donlan
v. Smith, 662 F.Supp. 352, 361 (D. Md. 1986).
Amended Complaint, viewing all allegations as true, fails to
allege a serious medical condition which was not treated
appropriately. Nothing stated in the Amended Complaint
“shocks the conscience” or demonstrates reckless
disregard for Plaintiff's pain and suffering. Further,
Plaintiff fails to allege an injury resulting from the denial
of a single cell assignment or denial of treatment for a rash
on his arms. The Amended Complaint and incorporated medical
records reflect Plaintiff's disagreement regarding
appropriate treatment, but do not allow the plausible
inference that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs. The Amended Complaint is therefore
dismissed. A separate Order follows.
 The motion for extension of time
concerns Civil Action ...