United States District Court, D. Maryland
XINIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
response to this civil rights complaint, Correctional
Defendants Officer Christopher, Officer Driscoll, and Warden
Ricky Foxwell, along with Medical Defendants Bruce Ford, PA
and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., filed Motions to Dismiss or
in the alternative for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 13, 22
& 29. The Court informed Plaintiff that, pursuant to
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975),
failure to oppose Defendants' motion may result in
dismissal of the Complaint. ECF Nos. 14, 23 and 30. Plaintiff
has responded in part. ECF Nos. 17 & 18. The Court finds
no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motions,
construed as Motions for Summary Judgment, shall be GRANTED.
David Gillis, an inmate committed to the custody of the
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services (DPSCS) and currently confined in the Eastern
Correctional Institution (ECI), brings this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants denied him
adequate medical care in violation of his right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment
of the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs claims center
on the removal of a bullet from Plaintiff's upper right
arm, as performed by Physician's Assistant Bruce Ford on
April 12, 2017. ECF No. 1 at p. 3. Before the procedure,
Plaintiff questioned whether it should be performed at an
outside hospital. Ford advised Plaintiff that the procedure
would be performed at ECI by Ford who had been in the medical
field for years at ECI. Ford further reassured Plaintiff he
was in good hands. Id.
to Plaintiff, Ford first numbed Plaintiffs right arm above
the elbow. For then used a surgical implement to cut into
Plaintiffs arm and extract the bullet. ECF No. 1 at p. 3.
Plaintiff avers that his arm began to bleed profusely and he
grew worried. Id. Ford told Plaintiff that the
bullet was stuck around a lot of cartilage and was not ready
to come out. Id. Nevertheless Ford continued to cut
deeper into Plaintiff's arm. Id. Plaintiff
states that he advised Ford that he was experiencing
excruciating pain and Ford administered additional medicine
to further numb his arm. Id. Plaintiff alleges that
"[Ford] continue[d] to damage the nerve in
[Plaintiff's] right arm and cut  away at the flesh
trying to remove the bullet," showing "no concern
for the damage he was causing." Id.
the bullet was removed, Plaintiff asserts that Ford failed to
clean the incision before stitching the wound and failed to
provide Plaintiff analgesic medication or antibiotics to
prevent infection. Id. Plaintiff asserts that Ford
examined the incision several days later and told Plaintiff
that a knot which had formed at the surgical site is scar
tissue and should go away over time. ECF No. 1 at p. 4.
Plaintiff responded that previous bullet removals did not
result in a knot forming and asked to be sent to an outside
further asserts that as the anesthetic wore off, his arm
began to hurt severely, and his hand ached when making a
closed fist. ECF No. 1 at p. 3. As of May 11, 2017, Plaintiff
asserts that his right arm remains numb and that the knot at
the incision site is still present. Id. at p. 4.
Additionally, Plaintiff claims that ECI failed to obtain his
consent to perform the surgical procedure which is against
ECI protocol. ECF 1 at p. 4. In his Amended Complaint filed
on November 15, 2017, Plaintiff names Wexford Health Sources
and Warden Foxwell as additional Defendants (ECF No. 16 at p.
1) and asserts that medical providers denied him
Gabapentin and Ultram for pain relief. ECF No. 15 at p.
submitted for the Court's consideration Plaintiff's
verified medical record, along with the declarations of
Officer Driscoll, Officer Christopher and Warden Foxwell.
Plaintiff, therefore, was on notice that the Court may treat
the motions as ones for summary judgment; the court
"does not have an obligation to notify parties of the
obvious." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports
Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998). Plaintiff does
not challenge the authenticity, veracity or reliability of
such records. Nor does he object to the Court considering
such records in connection with Defendants' summary
judgment motions. The Court, therefore, will treat the
Defendants motions as ones for summary judgment and will
consider the record evidence summarized below.
the April 12, 2017 procedure, Plaintiff had seen Ford on two
separate occasions for complaints of right elbow pain arising
from a gunshot wound. ECF No. 29-2 at pp. 2, 4. At both
visits, Ford noted that that a bullet fragment appeared close
to Plaintiffs skin surface and would schedule an in-house
surgical procedure to remove it. Id. Ford also
documented that he had discussed with Plaintiff the possible
risks associated with the procedure, to include
"bleeding, infection, scarring, [and] failure to
remove." Id. Plaintiff had been issued active
prescriptions for Amitriptyline Hcl and Gabapentin at the time
of his appointments with Ford. Id. at pp. 3, 5.
the procedure itself, the medical records reflect that on
April 12, 2017, prior to the procedure, Plaintiff advised
Ford that the fragment was causing him frequent pain. ECF No.
29-2 at p. 6. After Ford reviewed the risks associated with
the procedure, the "site was prepped, lidocaine with epi
[was] used, [and a] 2.5 cm incision was made."
Id. Ford noted substantial scar tissue around the
fragment, but observed no blood loss. Id. Three
sutures were required to close the incision. Id.
Plaintiff was directed to return in 10 days for suture
returned to Ford four days later, on April 21, 2017,
complaining of a "hard nodule and pain at [the]
site." ECF No. 29-2 at p. 8. Ford assured Plaintiff that
while he likely would experience improvement over time,
removal of the fragment would not necessarily resolve all
past all past associated medical symptoms. Id. Ford
documented that he observed no signs of infection and
directed Plaintiff to return the following week for suture
2, 2017, Nurse Nichole Frey removed the sutures. ECF No. 29-2
at p. 10. Frey described the wound was "well
approximated" and healed with no signs of infection.
Id. Plaintiff still maintained active prescriptions
for Amitriptyline HCL and Gabapentin. Id. Plaintiff
returned to Nurse Frey on May 17, 2017 with complaints of
right elbow numbness and cramping. ECF No. 29-2 at p. 17. No.