UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
July 19, 1984
AARON HARDING, Plaintiff, against ROBERT H. KUHLMANN, Superintendent Woodbourne Correctional Facility, and DOCTOR (unknown), Woodbourne Correctional Facility, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEINFELD
EDWARD WEINFELD, D.J.
Plaintiff Aaron Harding ("Harding"), an inmate at Woodbourne Correctional Facility, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982) against Woodbourne Superintendent Robert H. Kuhlmann, and an unknown doctor at the facility, alleging violation of his Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Defendants move for dismissal on the ground that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
In his complaint, Harding alleges the following:
On the 14th day of January, 1984, about 6:45 p.m.[,] I was playing a game of basketball in the gym at Woodbourne Correctional Facility, and in the course of the game I went up for a shot and came down on a [k]not/bubble in the floor and twisted my leg. I went to the infirmary and saw the nurse and she bandaged my ankle, as it was split and bleeding. Thereafter, the doctor came and took off the wrappings, cleaned the split again, and advised me that I needed sti[t]ches, and gave me an injection for pain and gave me eight (8) stitches, and admitted me to the hospital. I was in the hospital for about ten (10) days and released...
On the 24th day of January, 1984, I returned to the hospital to inform the doctor that I [was] still having problems walking and pain. I requested a cane or crutches, as the pressure on my leg from not having the sti[t]ches in seemed to have made it bleed again. I was refused my request and was placed on medical restriction. I received no medication for pain, only an ankle band, which was too tight.
I returned to the hospital on the 30th day of January, 1984, as the split opened up again and was swelling, and it was hard as a rock, and I was walking with a limp.
On the 6th day of February, 1984, I returned, was avoided[,] and placed back in the hospital for a short period of time.
Plaintiff's claim essentially alleges an unconstitutional denial of medical treatment. Such claims are tested by a "two pronged standard" that requires proper allegations of "serious medical needs and "deliberate indifference" on the part of prison officials toward those needs."
Deliberate indifference, the second essential element, is properly pleaded by allegations of "intentional efforts on the part of [prison officials] to delay [plaintiff's] access to medical care at a time when he was in extreme pain[,]" and has made his medical problems known "to the attendant prison personnel [,]"
of "complete denial" of medical treatment,
or of a "reckless or callous indifference to the . . . safety of . . . prisoners."
Plaintiff's allegations do not fall within these categories and do not otherwise suggest "deliberate indifference" to plaintiff's medical needs. The complaint states that, following his basketball injury, Harding sought out medical treatment on four separate occasions. As to the first, on January 14, 1984, plaintiff's only complaint appears to be that he was not given medication for pain until after he was seen by a doctor. He alleges no unreasonable delay in his receipt of treatment and the suggestion that prison personnel should be prescribed medication without instructions from a physician is obviously without merit. As to the second visit, he asserts that instead of being given crutches or a cane, as he requested, and drugs to ease pain, he was given an "ankle band" and placed on "medical restriction." Again, there is no allegation of delay in his receipt of medical treatment, or even that the treatment prescribed was contrary to applicable medical standards.
He gives no indication that prison officials did anything improper on the third occasion, January 30, 1984. As to the fourth, on February 6, 1984, he asserts he was "avoided." He does not specify the period during which he was treated in this fashion, but the complaint clearly indicates it was not long, as he was the same day "placed back in the hospital for a short period of time." He alleges no facts indicating that he had complained to prison personnel of an acute condition, and, without more, Harding's readmission to the hospital does not indicate that any delay in admitting him was the product of "deliberate indifference" to a "serious medical need." Taking all of Harding's allegations as true, and giving them a liberal construction,
the Court is compelled to find that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed.