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Brown v. Wexford Health Sources Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 12, 2018

JULIAN J. BROWN, DOC #424939, SID #3986965, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES INC., CORRECT RX PHARMACY SERVICES, DAYENA M. CORCORAN, RICHARD D. DOVEY, DOLPH BRUCKMAN, CONTAH NIMLEY, LORI SLAVICK, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          James K. Bredar Chief Judge

         Self-represented Plaintiff Julian J. Brown brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants, Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), Correct Rx Pharmacy Services (“Correct Rx”), Dayena M. Corcoran, Richard D. Dovey, Dolph Druckman, M.D., Contah Nimely, M.D., [1] and Lori Slavick, P.A.[2] ECF No. 1. Through the Complaint filed on May 2, 2017, and supplemented on July 12, 2017, Brown alleges that when he was housed at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (“MCTC”) in Hagerstown, Maryland, Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right by failing to provide adequate medical care.[3] Id. at p. 5; ECF No. 4, p. 5. Against MCTC Warden Richard D. Dovey and Commissioner of Correction Dayena M. Corcoran (collectively, “Correctional Defendants”), Brown seeks injunctive relief and compensatory relief of one million dollars. ECF No. 4, p. 5. Against Wexford, Druckman, Nimely, and Slavick (collectively, “Medical Defendants”), Brown seeks injunctive relief and compensatory relief of $4.5 million. Id.

         On December 18, 2017, Correctional Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 17. Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the Court informed Brown that the failure to file a response in opposition to the Motion could result in dismissal of the Complaint. ECF No. 18. Brown did not respond. On February 5, 2018, Medical Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 23. On February 28, 2018, Brown filed a response in opposition (ECF No. 25), to which Medical Defendants replied on March 12, 2018 (ECF No. 26). For the reasons stated below, the Correctional Defendants' Motion shall be granted and the Medical Defendants' Motion shall be denied.

         Background

         Brown, who was previously incarcerated at MCTC, has a medical history significant for hyperlipidemia, [4] esophageal reflux, Hepatitis C, polyneuropathy in diabetes, [5] hypertension, post-kidney transplant, diabetes mellitus with renal manifestations, [6] peripheral artery disease, and blindness in one eye. See ECF No. 23-7.[7] Defendants provide verified business records that include Brown's medical records along with Druckman's declaration. ECF Nos. 23-4; 23-5; 23-6; 23-7; 23-8 (medical records); 23-9 (Druckman Decl.). Brown's claims against all Defendants are included below.

         Brown states that on June 16, 2015, Slavick failed to follow the instructions given by Brown's previous prison medical provider, Dr. Sadek Ali, regarding physical therapy and insulin dosage. ECF No. 4, p. 2; see also ECF No. 23-5, p. 1. According to Brown, the dosage adjustment produced dangerous increases in his glucose levels, threatening the maintenance of his transplanted kidney. Id. Brown further states that on June 22, 2015, Slavick made another adjustment to the insulin dosage by adding a 25 unit Levemir p.m. dose to Brown's treatment plan, despite being informed by Brown that p.m. doses of long term insulin had been shown to produce hypoglycemic reactions in his system and, thus, had been removed from his treatment plan in 2013. Id. Brown alleges that hypoglycemic reactions began within 48 hours thereafter and worsened on July 2, 2015, causing him to go into insulin shock on July 8, 2015. Id. Brown states that on August 12, 2016, Slavick discontinued his pre-meal doses of Humalog insulin, which had been implemented by the Endocrinology Team at the University of Maryland Medical Center (“UMMC”). Id.

         Brown advances similar claims as to Nimely. According to Brown, on July 13, 2015, Nimely refused to continue his physical therapy, despite Dr. Ali's instructions. Id. at p. 3. Brown also states that on July 20, 2015, Nimely reduced his pre-meal insulin dose by 40% and discontinued the sliding scale adjustments used to correct elevated glucose levels from his treatment plan. Id. On July 29, 2015, the results of those adjustments revealed dangerously high glucose levels, some in excess of 600 mg/dl, bordering on diabetic coma ranges and threatening the maintenance of Brown's transplanted kidney. Brown alleges that Nimely made no attempt to regain control of his diabetes. Id. Then, on November 29, 2016, Nimely added 5 units of long term insulin to Brown's p.m. pre-meal dose despite the recorded proof that pm doses of long term insulin had repeatedly caused him to experience severe hypoglycemic reactions. Id. Brown states that on December 7, 2016, he was admitted to the prison infirmary in an effort to stop the hypoglycemic reactions caused by Nimely's dosage adjustment. Id.

         Brown alleges that on July 2, 2016, Druckman disregarded Brown's discharge instructions, which had been issued by UMMC. Id. Brown states that Druckman adjusted his anti-refection/immunosuppression medication, failed to get requested labs drawn, failed to fulfill the prescribed antibiotic regimen, and failed to schedule his follow up with the podiatrist, vascular surgeon, and infectious disease clinic. Id. Brown states that on August 11, 2016,

Dr. Druckman, disregarding the instructions given to him on multiple occasions, attempted to remove a subclavian Hickman catheter from plaintiff's pectoral region. As this catheter had been surgically implanted, at the UMMC, it required surgical removal. Being unfamiliar with this particular type of device and thinking it was a typical PICC line, Dr. Druckman tried to remove the subclavian Hickman catheter with a pair of scissors, disregarding the instructions to return plaintiff to UMMC for central line removal by IR (lnterventional Radiology) on or around 8/9/2016.
After about an hour of cutting into plaintiff's chest with a pair of scissors and no anesthesia, the Dr. became frustrated and began tugging on the subclavian Hickman catheter. When plaintiff suggested that the Dr. call the phone number, listed on the discharge instructions, the Dr. became angry and told the plaintiff to let him be the Dr. and for the plaintiff to be the patient. Shortly thereafter the Dr. gave up and ended the torture. Having assumed he could perform the procedure himself, the defendant prematurely arranged for another inmate to occupy the plaintiff's bed space, making it necessary to discharge plaintiff from the infirmary. At this point, Dr. Druckman contacted Meritus Medical Center and gave them false information, stating that an inmate from a local prison was being sent to them, for removal of a right-sided subclavian Hickman catheter, as opposed to traveling all the way to Georgetown. He, intentionally, failed to inform the Medical Center of the device's place and time of implantation, as well as, his futile attempt to remove the catheter himself. He then had plaintiff returned, to MCTC, following the Emergency Room surgery, in violation of DPSCS policy . . . .

Id. (internal citations omitted).

         Brown alleges that Wexford, as the employer of Slavick, Nimely, and Druckman, is responsible for its subordinates' failure to provide adequate medical care. Brown states that Wexford continues to allow lapses in treatment to occur, in violation of his Eighth Amendment Rights.[8]

         With regard to the Correctional Defendants, Brown alleges that Warden Dovey failed to identify Wexford's failures to provide adequate medical care, and that Commissioner Corcoran improperly dismissed his requests for administrative remedy, thus allowing Brown to continue without adequate medical care. Id. at p. 4.

         Legal Standards ...


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