United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Michael Wiggins (“Plaintiff”),
who is incarcerated at North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland, brings this
civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), Holly Pierce, RNP
(“Pierce”) and Jane/John Doe. ECF No. 1.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have refused to provide him
necessary pain medications and have thereby violated his
rights under the Eighth Amendment. A hearing is not
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.). For the
reasons that follow, Plaintiff’s request for discovery
will be denied, and Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, or
Alternatively, for Summary Judgment, will be construed as a
motion for summary judgment and granted.
Complaint filed on May 7, 2018, Plaintiff states that he
suffers from several medical conditions, including
sarcoidosis, depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress
disorder, asthma, and back pain. ECF No. 1 at
He asserts that since November 2017, Defendant Pierce, whom
he asserts is employed by Defendant Wexford and is assigned
to provide medical care for Plaintiff at NBCI, has failed to
provide him with prescribed pain medication, causing him to
experience “tremendous pain and massive weight
loss.” Id. at 2–3. Plaintiff states that
according to Pierce, the discontinuation of narcotic pain
medication that he was previously given stems from a policy
instituted by Wexford. Id. at 3.
claims that on April 3, 2018, he was transferred to Bon
Secours Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to see a Dr. Abdi for
treatment for his sarcoidosis. Id. Due to a
scheduling error, Plaintiff was unable to see Dr. Abdi until
April 5, 2018. Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that
after performing a procedure, Dr. Abdi prescribed the
medications magnesium oxide, budesonide, and Imodium.
states that on April 6, 2018, he was taken to Western
Correctional Institution (“WCI”) for a 24-hour
mandatory observation. Id. After the medical staff
took his vitals, however, he was returned to his cell at NBCI
without the newly prescribed medications from Dr. Abdi or any
pain medications. Id. Plaintiff claims that he
waited two weeks for a follow up and was seen on April 17,
2018, after he filed sick call slips. Id. He alleges
that the medical provider during that visit assured him that
Pierce would be asked to order his pain medication.
April 22, 2018, having not received pain medication,
Plaintiff states that he spoke to “RN Chrissy, ”
who allegedly informed him that Pierce “declined to
fill the order.” Id. at 4–5. As of April
23, 2018, Plaintiff claimed that he still had not received
the medication, leaving him “in pain and unable to
properly eat solid meals causing rapid weight loss.”
Id. at 5.
alleges that Defendants’ conduct constitutes a denial
of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and
unusual punishment in that Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical need. Id. at 6.
He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as
compensatory and punitive damages. Id. at 6–7.
the serious matters raised in Plaintiff’s Complaint,
the Court on May 14, 2018 directed counsel for Defendants and
the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services to show cause why relief should not be granted. ECF
No. 2. Counsel for Defendants filed a response to this
Court’s Order to Show Cause on June 4, 2018 and
attached supporting medical records. ECF No. 5. On September 7,
2018, Defendants Wexford and Pierce filed a Motion to
Dismiss, or Alternatively, for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 12.
do not dispute that Plaintiff suffers from several medical
conditions for which he has been given pain medication. ECF
No. 12-1 at 3. According to medical records attached to
Defendants’ motion, Plaintiff was receiving the
medications Tramadol and Neurontin for his pain complaints in
2017. ECF No. 12-3 at 7, 10. In August 2017, Plaintiff began
to experience abdominal pain, and a consultation with a
gastroenterologist was subsequently approved. Id. at
letter dated September 26, 2017, Mahboob Ashraf, M.D.
informed Plaintiff that his “dose of Neurontin was
written as 400mg po twice but pharmacy wrote to give you
approved for tapering by 200mg per day.” Id.
at 36. According to Asresahegn Getachew, M.D., acting Medical
Director at WCI and NBCI, Neurontin was prescribed for
Plaintiff for pain complaints related to a gunshot wound, but
had since been deemed “no longer medically
necessary.” ECF No. 12-5 ¶ 5. By October 9, 2017,
an order for a tapering dose of Tramadol was also entered.
ECF No. 12-3 at 40.
November 13, 2017, Plaintiff was seen at the NBCI medical
unit complaining that he needed his prescription for pain
medication renewed and that Ibuprofen he had received was
hurting his stomach. Id. at 51. Plaintiff was
educated on the use of Tramadol and was informed that its use
for long term chronic pain is “not indicated.”
Id. Nonetheless, Plaintiff’s prescription for
Tramadol was reinstated on November 17, 2017, with a stop
date of March 17, 2018. Id. at 53–54. That
same day, it was noted that Dr. Abdi had diagnosed Plaintiff
with colitis. See id.
March 8, 2018, Plaintiff’s prescription for Tramadol
was extended again, this time through April 8, 2018.
Id. at 91. As part of his continued
gastroenterological care and treatment, on April 5, 2018,
Plaintiff underwent a colonoscopy and endoscopic
gastroduodenoscopy. ECF No. 12-7 at 22–23, 27–28.
Following those procedures, Plaintiff was given new
prescriptions for the medications Budesonide and Magox 400,
as well as a continuing prescription for Imodium A-d.
See ECF No. 12-3 at 99.
acknowledge that following the procedures, Plaintiff was
returned to NBCI and that “there was some
miscommunication regarding his medications so that he was
unable to obtain them for approximately 10 days.” ECF
No. 12-1 at 6; see ECF No. 12-5 at 3. The provider
who saw Plaintiff on April 17, 2018 noted that the
“medication was ordered through pharmacy was [sic]
faxed this afternoon.” ECF No. 12-3 at 99. The provider
also noted Plaintiff’s weight as 173 pounds.
Id. at 101. On May 1, 2018, Defendant Pierce