United States District Court, D. Maryland
JAMAHL RICE, Plaintiff .
DR. ASHRAH, et al. Defendants
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Jamahl Rice filed the above-captioned civil rights
action alleging that Defendants have been deliberately
indifferent to his medical needs. ECF No. 1. Three of the
four Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, and Plaintiff has
responded. ECF Nos. 16, 25. Defendants have also filed a
Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 32.
matter is now ripe for review. The Court finds a hearing in
these matters unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6. For
the reasons that follow, Defendants' dispositive Motion,
construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, is GRANTED.
Defendants' Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment is
terminated as moot.
an inmate housed at North Branch Correctional Institution,
filed this action on February 19, 2018. ECF No. 1 at 4;
see also Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270-72
(1988) . (discussing prison mailbox rule). He alleges that he
dislocated his left shoulder on January 15, 2018.
Id. The following day, he saw Defendant Doctor
Ashraf, who ordered that Plaintiff undergo an x-ray.
Id. Plaintiff states that he "was not given any
results" following the x-ray procedure. On January 19,
2018, Plaintiff was informed that the x-ray revealed "no
change" when compared with a previously-taken x-ray and
thus Plaintiff had was not "sent to the hospital yet or
given any pain medication." Id.
Plaintiff reports that the refusal to send him to the
hospital or provide him with pain medication remained ongoing
as of his filing of this instant Complaint on February 19,
2018. Id. Plaintiff also asserts that Defendants
have failed to comply with the instructions of an emergency
room doctor "to follow up with an orthopedic
surgeon," though he does not provide details about this
instruction (such as when it was issued, the identity of the
doctor, the time frame for follow-up, etc.). Id. at
who reports that he has "had 5 surger[ies] to correct
this problem [of shoulder dislocations]" complains that
medical providers are refusing to treat him because they
claim he is deliberately dislocating his shoulders.
Id. at 4-5. In particular, he states that Defendant
Doctor Joubert-Curtis told other prison medical staff
"to never see [Plaintiff] for this problem" because
the problem is self-inflicted, and that Defendant Nurse
Pierce "told [him] to live with it" and that
medical providers "were not going to keep sending [him]
out" to the hospital to address his recurring shoulder
complains that the untreated dislocation is causing him pain
that is preventing him from being able to sleep. Id.
at 5. He also states that he is depressed because he feels he
is being treated unfairly by the medical staff. Id.
addition to the issue of his shoulder dislocation, Plaintiff
states that he suffers from Hepatitis C and is receiving
inadequate treatment for this condition. Id.
Specifically, he claims
The state knew about this [diagnosis of Hepatitis C] for 5
months now[.] I have high levels with a swollen liver[;] not
once has a doctor check on me to see if my liver is still
swollen [or] if my levels got higher. ... I have been having
hot cold sweats, fever, fatigue, nose bleeds and my organs
ache at night.
support of their dispositive Motion, Defendants have
submitted Plaintiffs medical records, dating back to
September 2017. ECF No. 16-3. Defendants have also included
an entry in Plaintiffs medical history dated June 16, 2017,
that summarizes Plaintiffs history of "recurrent
bilateral shoulder dislocations" including eight
dislocations between November 2016 and June 2017.
Id. at 3. It was also noted that, during his two
prior terms in prison collectively totaling 23 months'
imprisonment, Plaintiff suffered 12 dislocations and
underwent 3 "ORIF" or open reduction surgical
procedures. Id. at 3.
June 16, 2017 entry further stated
Pt admitted on 6/12/17 to being caught cheeking opioid pain
medications in DOC around 2009. As per previous visit by
ortho on-site, pt has a chronic sublaxation which is
manipulated by the patient for secondary gain, (i.e., to go
to hospital or to get a narcotic). Per note from 9/13/11,
patient was caught self-applying tourniquet to cause
edema/loss of circulation to left arm s/p left shoulder
surgery. In note from 11/7/11, Dr. Hassan was contacted about
further surgery. The patient told a provider that he could
dislocate his shoulders at-will. Dr. Hassan, in note from
11/7/11, recommended no further surgery as surgery cannot
prevent voluntary shoulder dislocations... . Pt seen by
nursing, custody previously not wearing sling as advised.
Id. (emphasis omitted).
September 1, 2017, Plaintiff was transferred from the
Department of Corrections' Metropolitan Transition Center
(MTC) infirmary to the University of Maryland Medical Center
(UMMC) for a treatment of a left shoulder dislocation, which
Plaintiff had been suffering from for several weeks.
Id. at 6-8. At UMMC, Plaintiffs "shoulder was
reduced under sedation." Id. at 10.
was discharged from UMMC the same day. Id. Prison
health providers reported that Plaintiffs discharge note from
the hospital stated that "patient [l]igaments are not
strong enough to keep the shoulder in joint. Patient is to
keep his shoulder in the sling and to avoid exercise."
Id. Plaintiff was monitored in the infirmary for a
day following his discharge but voiced no concerns.
Id. at 12.
the same month, Plaintiff was in the MTC infirmary with a
left shoulder dislocation and repeatedly demanded that he be
prescribed oxycodone for his pain. Id. at 15-18.
Medical providers told him that his condition did not warrant
oxycodone, and that his existing prescriptions for
Tylenol-codeine and Ultram were adequate to address his pain.
medical records indicate that in late September and early
October 2017 prison medical providers were having difficulty
getting outside orthopedic specialists to treat Plaintiff due
to his history with multiple providers and the risk of
serious complications based on Plaintiffs numerous past
procedures. Id. at 19-22, 25. For example, on
September 28, 2017, Plaintiff had a scheduled appointment
with an orthopedic specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH)
regarding his dislocation; however, the provider did not
treat Plaintiff and instead advised that Plaintiff be
returned to UMMC, where his recent reduction had been
performed. Id. Notes from September 28 stated that
Plaintiff continued to cause problems to his shoulders by
ignoring post-surgical instructions regarding movement and
exercise, and that he was frequently observed without his arm
sling. Id. at 19, 21, 34.
October 16, 2017, an x-ray was taken of Plaintiff s left
shoulder at Towson Orthopedic Associates; the evaluating
doctor indicated that it was impossible to tell what caused
the serious instability in Plaintiffs arm and opined that an
open reduction would likely be necessary "to get his
should back in[to]" place. Id. at 36-37.
October 22, 2017, while attempting to take a shower,
Plaintiff called for help and was discovered on the bathroom
floor. Plaintiff reported that he had fallen. Id. at
42-43. Someone called 911 and Plaintiff was taken to JHH.
Id. at 43-45. At JHH, Plaintiff underwent a closed
reduction on his right shoulder before his right arm and
shoulder were "placed into a sling & swath which the
patient should maintain at all times." Id. at
46-47. It was noted that the left shoulder was "not
amenable to closed reduction" and recommended that
Plaintiff follow up with UMMS about surgical options.
Id. at 46. Doctors at JHH performed CT scans and
x-rays on Plaintiffs shoulders and surrounding areas (e.g.,
spine, humerus bones, etc.). Id. at 48-53. Both
shoulders were noted to be subluxed, but the images were
reported to be substantially similar to images from earlier
years. Mat 50-53.
Plaintiff returned to the MTC infirmary, providers noted
Plaintiffs bilateral shoulder subluxation "with
degenerative changes & chronic Hill-Sachs
deformity," observed that Plaintiff was wearing an arm
sling, and planned to resume the same treatment plan as
before Plaintiffs October 22 fall. Id. at 54-56. On
October 26, 2018, it was noted that Dr. Craig Mathew of St.
Joseph Hospital was willing to perform a procedure on
Plaintiffs left shoulder provided that Plaintiff undergo an
MRI; a consultation request for that MRI was placed.
Id. at 58. However, Plaintiffs medical records also
reported that multiple other orthopedic surgeons were
unwilling to perform the procedure because they believed he
should see the surgeon who performed surgery "on the
same joint, in 2009." Id.
October 27, 2017, Plaintiff reported that a correctional
officer pulled his right arm and dislocated it, but an x-ray
was performed on the arm a few days later and revealed no
change from the x-ray taken at JHH on October 23, 2017.
Id. at 60, 63, 66.
November 2 and November 15, 2017, Plaintiff was housed at the
infirmary at Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI).
Id. at 89. During his time there, Plaintiff
"admitted to [a] provider that in the past he would
intentionally dislocate his shoulder but stopped d[o]ing that
after his surgeries and due to the chronic pain and
restrictive movement." Id. at 66. Despite the
results of the x-ray indicating that Plaintiffs right
shoulder was unchanged compared with the October 27 incident,
Plaintiff continued to insist that his right shoulder had
been dislocated by the correctional officer and requested
that the shoulder be reduced. Id. at 68, 74, 83, 85.
He was informed that "on[-]site reduction is not
medically indicated due to [his] excessive history of
dislocation and repair." Id. at 68, 74.
the roughly two weeks that he was at the ECI infirmary,
Plaintiff was observed on several occasions without his
sling(s). Id. at 72, 79. On several occasions,
Plaintiff attempted to reduce the shoulder himself (by
banging his shoulder against the wall) despite being
instructed not to do so. Id. at 72, 74, 76, 83.
Although he was already prescribed pain medication including
Tylenol-codeine, he repeatedly demanded specific pain
medication such as oxycodone and, on some occasions, refused
the medication that he was offered. Id. at 69, 79,
85. He was frequently reported as being belligerent to staff
and refused to be evaluated on multiple occasions.
Id. at 72, 74, 76, 80.
November 16, 2017, an MRI was performed on Plaintiffs left
shoulder, as requested by Dr. Mathew. Id. at 91-92.
Notes from the MRI report that Plaintiff appeared to have a
"mild inferior subluxation of the humeral head" and
characterized this inferior subluxation as
"chronic." Id. at 92. Defendants have
omitted Plaintiffs medical records from November 17, 2017
through December 21, 2017, and it is unclear if Dr. Mathew
performed surgery on Plaintiffs left shoulder.
December 21, 2017, Plaintiff was housed at Jessup
Correctional Institution. He fell in the shower, causing his
left shoulder to be displaced. Id. at 93. Plaintiff
was taken to Bon Secours Hospital (BSH) where he underwent an
unsuccessful closed reduction on his left shoulder, was
prescribed Percocet for pain, and was instructed to follow-up
with an orthopedic surgeon in a week with a pending order for
an open reduction of the left shoulder. Id. at 93,
98-100, 108. Plaintiff was returned to Jessup Correctional
Institution/Jessup Regional Hospital (JRH) for observation,
where the medical notes made repeated reference to his
history of recurrent shoulder dislocations, with providers
noting that they suspected the problems were self-induced and
for the purposes of getting narcotics or other secondary
gain. Id. at 95, 100, 106, 110. Notes in ...