United States District Court, D. Maryland
HAMMEL J. CLARK, Plaintiff,
BEVERL Y McLAUGHLIN, RNP, RUBUSTIANO BARRERA, M.D., MAHBOOB ASHRAF, M.D., STEPHEN D. RYAN, Physical Therapist, and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC. Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hammel J. Clark, an inmate at the Western Correctional
Institution ("WO") in Cumberland, Maryland, has
filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Beverly McLaughlin, RNP; Rubustiano Barrera,
M.D.; Mahboob Ashraf, M.D.; Stephen D. Ryan, Physical
Therapist; and Wexford Health Sources-, Inc.
("Wexford"). Clark alleges that while he was
incarcerated at WO, he was denied constitutionally adequate
medical care to treat his left shoulder rotator cuff tear.
Defendant Stephen D. Ryan was not served with the Complaint.
The remaining Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or
Alternatively for Summary Judgment. Having reviewed the
briefs and submitted materials, the Court finds no hearing
necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the
reasons set forth below, the Motion will be granted.
March 22, 2016, Clark submitted a sick call request in which
he complained of pain in his left shoulder which he
attributed to a March 15 or 16 altercation with a
correctional officer. He was evaluated by Nurse Amy Booth on
March 24, 2016 and was provided with a sling. He already had
prescriptions for pain medications. On March 29, 2016, he
filed another sick call request complaining that despite his
March 24 medical visit, he was not able to raise his arm
without pain and that hot water did not alleviate the pain.
April 1, 2016, Clark, with his arm still in a sling, was
evaluated by Defendant Beverly McLaughlin, a registered nurse
practitioner, who noted that Clark remained in pain and had
limited movement in his shoulder. She requested an x-ray of
Clark's left shoulder. On April 3, 2016, Clark submitted
a sick call request in which he inquired about the results of
the shoulder x-ray and requested a magnetic resonance imaging
test ("MRI") of his spine and shoulder. The x-ray
was read on April 6, 2016 and showed "no evidence of an
acute fracture, dislocation or subluxation." Defs.'
Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss ("Mot. Dismiss") Ex. 2 at
3, ECF No. 14-4.
April 6, 2016, Defendant Dr. Robustiano Barrera evaluated
Clark and noted recurrent dislocation in his left shoulder.
Dr. Barrera also noted that Clark's range of motion was
diminished and referred him to the on-site orthopedist, Dr.
Carls. Clark's prescriptions for painkillers were
renewed. On April 10, 2016, Clark filed a sick call request
because his shoulder was "pop[p]ing out" and was
painful. Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1 at 7, ECF No. 14-3. On April 20,
2016, Dr. Barrera again submitted a request that Clark be
seen by Dr. Carls.
April 23, 2016, Clark filed another sick call request asking
whether he could see a doctor again because his shoulder
continued to ache and was stiff, was popping out, and was
painful. Although medical personnel noted that the request
for an orthopedic consultation had been placed, no further
action was taken. On May 3, 2016, Clark again requested to
see Dr. Barrera. On May 5, 2016, Dr. Barrera evaluated Clark
again. Clark reported that his left shoulder would become
dislocated when he tried to push himself off his wheelchair.
He was advised to have another x-ray to determine the type of
dislocation and was referred for physical therapy. Later that
day, Dr. Barrera decided that Clark should not use the sling
in order to "prevent developing frozen shoulder."
PL's Opp'n Mot. Dismiss Ex. 4 at 9, ECF No. 17-8. The
second x-ray was negative.
6, 2016, Clark again filed a sick call request complaining of
pain in his shoulder and that his shoulder continued to
"pop out of place" even when he was sleeping. Mot.
Dismiss Ex. 1 at 10. On May 17, 2016, Clark was evaluated by
Defendant Stephen Ryan, a physical therapist. The goals for
physical therapy were to decrease symptoms and improve
elevation and strength. Clark returned for physical therapy
on May 18, 2016.
21, 2016, Clark filed another sick call request relating to
continuing pain from the dislocation of his left shoulder.
Although Clark was undergoing physical therapy, Clark
asserted that such therapy caused pain and would not prevent
his shoulder from popping out. Clark submitted additional
sick call requests about his shoulder on May 27, 2016 and
June 1, 2016. On June 1, Clark was examined by Nurse Dennis
Martin, who noted that Clark was in compliance with his
medication and physical therapy and that an orthopedic
consultation request had been made on April 20, 2016. On June
2, 2019, Ryan noted modest improvements and recommended six
more sessions of physical therapy.
18, 2016, McLaughlin evaluated Clark and submitted a third
request that Clark's left shoulder be evaluated by an
orthopedist. The same day, Clark submitted a sick call
request expressing concern about his shoulder and spine. On
June 24, 2016, McLaughlin requested that Clark receive
additional physical therapy for his left shoulder. A
collegial review team of medical professionals denied the
requested orthopedic consultation in favor of continuing
5, 2016, Clark submitted a sick call request in which he
sought an explanation for why the request for an orthopedic
consultation was denied and requested an MRI. The next day,
on July 6, McLaughlin evaluated Clark and encouraged him to
complete the scheduled physical therapy first, then if his
symptoms worsened or recurred, to return for reevaluation of
the need for an orthopedic consultation. Clark continued with
physical therapy throughout July and during early August
2016. On August 4, 2016, Ryan discharged Clark from physical
therapy, concluding that the optimum benefit had been
obtained even though Clark still had significant issues with
day, Clark filed another sick call request and complained
that despite the physical therapy, he was unable to lift his
arm above the level of his shoulder. On August 6, 2016, Clark
was evaluated by Nurse Kristi Cortez. Clark reported his pain
as seven on a scale of 1 to 10. Nurse Clark noted that he was
continuing to receive Neurontin to relieve pain.
August 16, 2016, Clark was evaluated by Krista Bilak, another
registered nurse practitioner. Where the physical therapy had
not improved Clark's shoulder, he could not lift his arm
above shoulder level, and his shoulder continued to
dislocate, Bilak submitted a request for an MRI of
Clark's left shoulder. On September 7, 2016, Clark
submitted a sick call slip asking to see a doctor other than
Defendant Dr. Mahboob Ashraf. Dr. Ashraf then met with Clark
to address his concerns. Clark submitted additional sick call
requests on September 18, 2016 and October 11, 2016
complaining about his shoulder pain and asking about the
delay in his receiving the requested MRI.
November 2, 2016, Clark underwent the MRI, which showed
arthritic changes of the glenohumeral joint, a narrowing of
the joint space, chondromalacia, joint margin osteophytes,
and subarticular cystic changes at the glenoid. The MRI
further revealed that Clark's glenoid labrum was
degenerated and there was mild AC joint arthropathy. However,
there was no swelling in the joint, the long head of the
bicep tendon was ...