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Murray v. Memarsadeghi

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 4, 2019

CHRIS MURRAY, #238-171, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. MAHBOOBEH MEMARSADEGHI and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Chris Murray, an inmate presently incarcerated at Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown in Hagerstown, Maryland, has filed a civil action against Defendants Dr. Mahboobeh Memarsadeghi and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., asserting a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution arising from the alleged failure to provide adequate medical care to Murray while he was housed at the Roxbury Correctional Institution ("RCI") in Hagerstown, Maryland. Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. Although the Motion was fully briefed, Murray has filed a Motion for Leave to File a Surreply. Upon review of the submitted materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, Murray's Motion for Leave to File a Surreply is GRANTED, and Defendants' Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Murray has a significant medical history of hypertension, benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary tract obstruction or contracture, asthma, diabetes mellitus, and a mental health history of anti-social personality disorder. On September 28, 2015, while he was residing at RCI, Murray saw Dr. Memarsadeghi during a scheduled visit to discuss his long-standing complaint of a burning sensation upon urination, or dysuria, and occasional swelling of his scrotum. Dr. Memarsadeghi stated that she would review the results of a June 2018 cystoscopy and advised Murray to return in two weeks if the condition worsened or did not improve.

         On November 5, 2015, Murray was seen by Dr. Ava Joubert-Curtis at the chronic care clinic. During that visit, Murray complained of left flank and lower back burning and cramping pain, as well as a dribbling, hesitant, and interrupted urinary stream. There was, however, no change in urine color, cloudy urine, decreased stream, or hematuria, the presence of blood in his urine. Dr. Joubert-Curtis noted that Murray had a prior history of urinary tract infections and had previously had a transurethral resection of the prostate, a surgical procedure to treat urinary problems resulting from an enlarged prostate, which Murray believed aggravated his symptoms. During her examination, Dr. Joubert-Curtis found no abnormalities with the penile shaft, urethral opening, scrotum, and testes, and that there was no urethral discharge. There were no abnormal groin lymph nodes, testicular masses, or costovertebral angle tenderness or suprapubic tenderness. Dr. Joubert-Curtis ordered blood tests and a urine culture.

         On November 18, 2015, Murray had a medical visit with Crystal Jamison, a physician's assistant, to follow up on his complaints of dysuria, frequency of urination, and nocturia, or waking up at night because of the need to urinate. Jamison noted that Murray was in no apparent distress during the visit. She informed him that the urine culture was not successfully processed, so a new urine sample was taken with follow up to occur in two weeks.

         According to Murray, in early December 2015 he experienced cramps and pain in his lower abdomen, swelling of his testicles, blood in his urine, and difficulty urinating. On December 4, 2015, Murray reported to the RCI medical department for an appointment with Dr. Memarsadeghi and, by telemedical conference, Dr. Scipio, a urologist. At that time, Murray reported suffering from a "cough productive of yellowish sputum for more than a week," for which a Zithromax pack was prescribed. Med. Records at 11, Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1, ECF No. 12-4. As to Murray's complaints of testicular swelling and dysuria, Dr. Scipio recommended that Murray take the antibiotic Bactrim DS for 15 days, have a sitz bath twice daily, and take pyridium, a pain reliever for the lower part of the urinary tract, until the burning sensation stopped. Murray was advised to follow up with the medical staff if his condition worsened or did not improve within 14 days.

         According to Murray, Dr. Scipio had requested that if symptoms did not improve within 14 days, Murray was to be sent to see Dr. Scipio at Bon Secours Hospital. He asserts that he informed Dr. Memarsadeghi at an unspecified time that the symptoms were continuing, but she did not refer him for an appointment with Dr. Scipio. Dr. Memarsadeghi, however, asserts that Dr. Scipio did not request such a referral and notes that no such order is documented in the medical records. She also states that she does not recall any report from Murray of recurring symptoms and discounts Murray's claim that he reported symptoms during an encounter in the hallway because medical staff are instructed not to provide advice in such situations but to direct inmates to the sick call process. Dr. Memarsadeghi also reports that she was out of the United States from December 25, 2055 to January 2, 2016.

         On December 25, 2015, Murray saw Jamison at sick call and complained of urinary urgency and incontinence. He did not, however, report pain in urinating, and no blood was found in his urine. Murray was advised to use the sick call process if the symptoms did not subside or if they worsened. On December 30, 2015, Murray reported for a sick call visit with Nurse Carmen Griffith and complained of testicular pain. Griffith referred Murray to a medical provider for a follow up in January 2016.

         As a result, on January 13, 2016, Murray was examined by Dr. Memarsadeghi for his complaints of a urinary tract infection. Although Murray reported pain while urinating, tests showed no blood or white blood cells in Murray's urine. Dr. Memarsadeghi advised Murray to use the sick call process if his symptoms did not subside or if they became more severe. At a Division of Correction physical examination by a different doctor on January 17, 2016, urine tests again showed no blood in Murray's urine.

         On January 20, 2016, Murray was seen by Dr. Joubert-Curtis at the chronic care clinic. Based on her discussions with Murray and her examination, Dr. Joubert-Curtis concluded that Murray was experiencing frequency of urination, hesitancy, urgency, dysuria, decreased urine stream, nocturia, left back pain, flank pain, and incontinence. He did not have blood in his urine, his scrotum was normal, and his testes were symmetric, not tender, and had no testicular masses. Although Dr. Joubert-Curtis suggested to Murray that some of his abdominal pain could be the result of scars from a past surgery for intestinal obstruction, Murray dismissed that theory.

         On February 20, 2016 at 10:26 a.m., Murray was seen by Dr. Nimely during a sick call visit. Murray stated that he had been vomiting all night, experienced spurts of terrible pain in his abdomen, and felt as if he needed to have a bowel movement but could not. The medical staff gave Murray Pepto Bismol and Mylanta, and within 40 minutes, his pain resolved, and no vomiting occurred. Murray returned to his housing unit in stable condition.

         At 2:13 p.m. that same day, Murray returned to the medical unit complaining that he had had vomited three times since returning to his housing unit and that he still felt like he needed to defecate. Murray reported pain of 5 on a scale of 1-5 in the right lower quadrant of his abdomen, which was tender to the touch. Dr. Nimely placed an order for a 10 mg prochlorperazine intramuscular injection and referred Murray to Dr. Dolph Druckman, who directed staff to monitor Murray for three hours. At approximately 5:24 p.m., Dr. Druckman ordered that Murray be sent to the emergency room.

         On February 21, 2016, an emergency physician at the Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Maryland diagnosed that Murray had a small bowel obstruction and a possible closed loop obstruction that required surgery. Murray was then transferred by ambulance to Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland for surgical managemen.. A CT scan of ...


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