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Barnes v. Bilak

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 17, 2018

KRISTA BILAK, et al. Defendants


          James K. Bredar Chief Judge

         In response to the civil rights complaint filed against them, defendants Krista Bilak, Mahboob Ashraf, M.D., Holly Pierce, and Wexford Health Source, Inc., move for dismissal or for summary judgment. ECF 20. Plaintiff Juan Barnes opposes the motion. ECF 21. No. hearing is necessary for the disposition of this case. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, the motion shall be granted.


         Claim regarding hypertension

         Plaintiff, an inmate confined to North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, claims that he has hypertension that has gone untreated for three months, despite his request for a renewal of his medication. ECF 1 at p. 1. He states that neither Krista Bilak, RN, nor the medical contractor, Wexford Health Source, Inc., can dispute that his hypertension has gone untreated because he passed out and fell to the floor when he was lightheaded. Id. Barnes does not state when he passed out or where he was in the institution. Barnes claims that “a real live stroke is underway” if he does not receive treatment for his hypertension and he believes that the falls he has experienced were “light strokes” but does not explain why he believes this. Id. at p. 3.

         In his first amended complaint, Barnes claims that his hypertension medication was allowed to expire, causing him injury. ECF 5. Although it is not all together clear, Barnes seems to assert that he stopped receiving care for his hypertension beginning December 17, 2016. Id. at p. 3.

         He states that on April 12, 2017, after he was denied chronic care clinic attention for hypertension, he passed out. Id. at p. 3. Barnes claims that when he passed out his cellmate had to revive him and he hurt his right arm. Id. He further alleges he was having trouble breathing and his feet were swollen, but when Officer Seville called for medical assistance he was told that if Barnes was on his feet he would need to put in a sick call slip to be seen. Id. Barnes put in a sick call slip and threatened to sue if he did not receive his “metaprolol[1] pills.” Id. at pp. 3-4. The following day he received his medication. Id.

         On May 20, 2017, Barnes claims his hypertension medication was again stopped and he did not receive them for “13 days or more.” Id. at p. 4. He seeks punitive and compensatory damages. Id.

         In his second amended complaint, Barnes asserts that Holly Pierce has “neglected my serious medical needs to the fullest” and that he is “living in pain every single minute of the hour.” ECF 11 at p. 2. He states that on November 29, 2017, he reported that he required emergency care because he was throwing up all of his food and liquids and that he was “underweight.” Id. Pierce had Barnes's blood taken and a stool sample and claimed she ordered medication for him, but he did not receive it. He states that he needs hospital care because he sees “blood in my stool and my throw up.” Id. Despite those symptoms, Barnes claims that Pierce did nothing for him and that medical staff are just waiting for his death. Id. He insists that “something is wrong” with him. He claims that when he asked Pierce to reinstate his hypertension medication, she told him his blood pressure was not high at that time. Id.

         He further alleges that he has “not had my hypertension medication since June”[2] and that “this has happened two times in 18 months.” ECF 11 at p. 8. He claims he experienced two incidents where he lost consciousness and struck his head because of the failure to provide him with medication. Id.

         Claim regarding sleep apnea

         In addition, Barnes claims that he has sleep apnea, which he describes as a serious medical condition that causes him to stop breathing when he is asleep. Barnes claims that the medical provider at Western Correctional Institution (WCI) requested a sleep study twice and both requests were denied. ECF 1 at p. 1. In his first amended complaint, Barnes claims that “Wexford Headquarters” denied two requests for sleep studies in 2014 and another request made in October of 2016 was ignored. ECF 5 at p. 2. He states that their “excuse” for denying the studies was that he should lose weight. Id. Barnes claims that not only does the condition present a threat to his health, it is also a problem for his cellmates who cannot sleep due to his snoring. He claims he has been assaulted by cellmates because of the condition. Id.

         Claim regarding migraines

         In his first amended complaint, Barnes adds a claim that Wexford has denied him treatment for chronic migraines. ECF 5 at p. 5. He states that on May 20, 2017, he complained about having chronic migraines to a nurse and she told him she ordered Excedrin for Barnes, but he states he never got it. Id.

         On June 18, 2017, Barnes saw another nurse[3] who also told him that Excedrin had been ordered for him, but he claims he never got anything. Id.

         On July 1, 2017, Barnes saw the nurse again and claims she lied to him again. Id. He states he still has chronic migraines, but his request for an MRI of his brain has been ignored and he is being denied any treatment for his migraines. Id. Barnes adds that “a migraine headache is serious pain” and “the head is something they should not play with could be a tumor.” Id.

         Claim regarding chronic pain management

         Barnes claims that “Wexford Health” refuses to monitor and follow up on his “chronic pain.” ECF 5 at p. 6. He states that he has not been seen for his chronic pain since January 1, 2017, which violates the policy requiring chronic care patients to receive follow-up care every 30 days. Id. He alleges that the sick call slips he sent in requesting treatment were thrown away and medical staff claim nothing was ever requested regarding this issue. Id.

         Barnes further states that he has “been on every pill 3 times” and only one medication worked, but he is denied it because he was found guilty of possessing buprenorphine[4] two years ago. Id. He claims that he is “okay” with not receiving the one prescription but claims the medical staff are using the prior guilty finding to deny treatment all together. Id. Barnes takes issue with medical staff not permitting the use of “alternative treatment” and states he doesn't want to take pills if he “can't have the only pill that worked.” Id.

         In his second amended complaint, Barnes claims that Dr. Ashraf is improperly “prescribing a psychosis medication for pain called Cymbalta.”[5] ECF 11 at p. 7. He claims the medication does not work, that he has a “real injury” with metal in his leg, and he has not received treatment for the pain for one year due to Holly Pierce stopping his Neurontin prescription “out of pure evil.” Id. He further avers that Wexford Health has put him on “several psychosis medication[s], ” which he claims “may have destroyed [his] stomach” and that he “may need surgery.” Id.

         In his second amended complaint, Barnes alleges that Sgt. Forney interfered with his attempts to file a medical complaint. ECF 11 at p.3. He claims he gave someone[6] a copy of a two-page complaint and Barnes was told it was given to Sgt. Forney, but Forney never gave Barnes a copy of the complaint. Id. Barnes claims this is a denial of access to courts and adds that Sgt. Forney “does not give ARP complaints out to tier reps” for the purpose of limiting complaints. Id. Barnes claims that Forney is attempting to stop inmates from accessing the courts by denying them ...

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