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Fann v. Barber

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

October 17, 2014

CHARLES EDWARD FANN, (AIS 189321), Plaintiff,
PAMELA BARBER, et al., Defendants.


BERT W. MILLING, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an Alabama prison inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72.2(c)(4), and is now before the undersigned on the motion for summary judgment of Defendants Pamela Barber and Bennie Andrews (docs. 16, 29, 32, 33), and Plaintiff's opposition thereto (doc. 45). For the reasons stated below, it is recommended that the motion for summary judgment of Defendants Barber and Andrews be granted and that Plaintiff's action against Defendants be dismissed with prejudice.

I. Summary of Facts and Background.

Plaintiff, Charles Edward Fann, is currently incarcerated at Holman Correctional Facility ("Holman"), where he is serving two concurrent sentences, a life sentence for murder and a 30-year sentence for attempted murder. (Doc. 1 at 5, 8). On November 5, 2013, [1] Plaintiff was injured while playing basketball during the allotted recreation time. ( Id. at 10; Doc. 29-1 at 25). He was immediately taken to the health care unit ("HCU") following the injury due to the fact that he was experiencing pain in his left ribs and trouble breathing. (Doc. 1 at 10). In the HCU, Plaintiff informed the nursing staff that he "believe[d] something was damage[d] or broken" due to the basketball accident. ( Id. at 10-11). Plaintiff received two shots for the complained of pain and was observed in the unit for approximately five hours before being released. ( Id. at 10). While in the medical ward, Defendant Dr. Pamela Barber examined Plaintiff and detected a "bulging" to the left lower quadrant of Plaintiff's abdomen. (Doc. 33-1at 26; Doc. 29-1 at 27). Plaintiff alleges Defendant Barber stated that the bulge or knot "was irregular and not normal and stated that she would order a ("M.R.I.") or some other special xRay to be done to see as to what causing [Plaintiff] not to breath [sic] normal which this was never order or done." (Doc. 1 at 11). Following Defendant Barber's assessment of Plaintiff, she did, however, order a chest x-ray to view Plaintiff's left ribs, which indicated Plaintiff suffered no broken bones or other complications or abnormalities. ( Id. at 11; Doc. 33-1 at 29). No further tests were conducted at that time, and Plaintiff was released with a prescription for pain medication and a steroid medication for the next three days. (Doc. 33-1 at 27; Doc. 29-1 at 28).

The following day, November 6, 2013, Plaintiff complained of "very bad pain in side and chest and short of breath[]" and requested to be seen at sick call. (Doc. 33-1 at 23; Doc. 29-1 at 24). Plaintiff was screened at sick call on November 6, 2013, and orders were provided that Plaintiff "may have a lay in and not go outside for three days." (Doc. 33-1 at 22, 27; Doc. 29-1 at 23, 28).

Plaintiff's next request to be seen at sick call was on November 15, 2013, when he complained of "serious pain" in his chest, left side, and the knot on his side. (Doc. 33-1 at 21; Doc. 29-1 at 22). He contends the pain was more intense, and he continued to experience difficulty breathing. (Doc. 1 at 12). On November 15, 2013, he was examined in the HCU and received two more injections for the pain. (Doc. 1 at 13). Plaintiff states that during the examination,

[D]octor Barber advised [him] verbally that something was really definitely wrong with [him] and that she schedule "M.R.I." to be done and that she is awaiting for Corizon to approve of it, she then sent me back down the hallway to my dormitory without keeping me on the hospital ward do [sic] to my condition as it gotten worser.

(Doc. 1 at 12). The medical records of November 15, 2013, denote the "knot" on Plaintiff's left lower abdomen was approximately two inches by two inches in size, and the medical records confirm orders for further x-rays on Plaintiff's ribs to be conducted, but the record contains no order for a M.R.I. scan. (Doc. 33-1 at 27; Doc. 29-1 at 28).

An additional x-ray was performed on November 18, 2013, and again revealed that there was no fracture to the bones and "no acute process [was] identified." (Doc. 33-1 at 29; Doc. 29-1 at 30). Defendant Barber ceased her employment as Holman's physician on January 12, 2014, and Dr. Iliff, followed by Dr. Koon, subsequently became the prison's physician. (Doc. 33-1 at 3; Doc. 29-1 at 5; Doc. 45 at 4-5).

Defendant Bennie Andrews is the Health Services Administrator at Holman. (Doc. 29-1 at 2). While Defendant Andrews does not provide any hands on medical care, diagnosis, or treatment of inmates, he is responsible for the administration of the HCU at Holman. ( Id. at 3). On May 29, 2014, June 5, 2014, June 8, 2014, and June 10, 2014, Plaintiff filed grievances to Defendant Andrews regarding the pain he was experiencing, asserting the knot on his side was "sticking out now in plain view."[2] (Doc. 1 at 13-14). Defendant Andrews advised Plaintiff that he had a scheduled appointment with the new physician on June 17, 2014, but Plaintiff claims he did not see the new doctor on June 17, 2014. ( Id. at 14). The medical records corroborate Plaintiff was not examined on June 17, 2014, but the medical chart notation specifies there was a "DOC shortage [and] patient [was] unable to be brought into HCU, " and the appointment with Dr. Iliff was rescheduled for July 2, 2014. (Doc. 33-1 at 8; Doc. 29-1 at 9). Also, Plaintiff was seen by a nurse on June 18, 2014 and prescribed pain medication for the duration of one week. (Doc. 33-1 at 8, 10; Doc. 29-1 at 9, 11).

On July 2, 2014, Dr. Iliff examined Plaintiff and diagnosed a possible cartilage fracture on Plaintiff's left side and ordered a CT scan. (Doc. 33-1 at 7; Doc. 29-1 at 8). The scan was performed on July 23, 2014 and revealed:

The lungs are well expanded and clear with no mass lesions seen. There is no hilar or mediastinal adenopathy. No vascular lesion is defined. The bony structure shows some mild to moderate degenerative disc disease in the mid to upper thoracic spine. There is a 3.3 cm low density lesion in the left kidney, probably intraperenchymal cyst.
Impression: No chest abnormality seen. Left renal lesion a probable cyst.

(Doc. 29-1 at 33; Doc. 33-1 at 32). Dr. Iliff ruled out the possibility of the knot complained of being a cyst as proposed by the CT scan and continued "to evaluate the complaints of Mr. Fann with regard to the knot on ...

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