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LEWIS v. ALVES

March 22, 2004.

NATHANIEL LEWIS Plaintiff,
v.
DR. JOHN ALVES, Facility Health Services Director for Southport Correctional Facility, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KEN SCHROEDER, Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented to the assignment of this case to the undersigned to conduct all proceedings in this case, including the entry of final judgment. Dkt. #13.

On September 10, 2001, plaintiff filed his complaint pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking compensatory damages for inadequate medical treatment during his incarceration at Southport Correctional Facility ("Southport"), in violation of his constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Dkt. #1.*fn1 Specifically, plaintiff complains that Dr. Alves, Director of Medical Services at Southport, failed to treat plaintiff's diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C and refused to administer interferon and ribavirin treatment as prescribed by the consulting physician at Strong Memorial Hospital. Dkt. ##1, 26. Currently before me is plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #25), and defendant's motion for summary judgment. Dkt. #29. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied and defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.

  BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C*fn2 prior to his transfer to Southport on June 30, 2000. Dkt. #26, ¶¶ 1-2; Dkt. #32, ¶¶ 5, 7a.

  On July 1, 2000, plaintiff complained of itching and was given a dandruff shampoo and benadryl. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7b.

  On July 6, 2000, plaintiff complained of a rash on his foot and stomach pains and was given a foot cream and antacids. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7c.

  On July 10, 2000, plaintiff complained that he was not receiving treatment for Hepatitis C. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7d. Dr. Alves reviewed plaintiff's records and, noting no significant symptoms, scheduled an appointment for plaintiff in four weeks. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7d. On July 13, 2000, plaintiff complained of stomach pain and diarrhea and received immodium. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7e.

  Plaintiff complained that he was itching on July 17, 2000 and was examined by Dr. Alves on July 20, 2000. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7f-g. Dr. Alves noted that plaintiff had lost weight and, because itching can be a symptom of hepatitis, ordered blood work and referred plaintiff for a gastroenterology consultation. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7g. Dr. Alves also prescribed a multivitamin and a high protein, high calorie diet for plaintiff. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7g.

  On July 25th, July 29th, August 7th, and August 8th, plaintiff received over the counter medication in response to complaints of diarrhea and ear pain. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7h.

  Plaintiff's blood was collected on August 18, 2000. Dkt. #32, Exh. A.

  Dr. Alves examined plaintiff again on August 24, 2000, at which time he observed that plaintiff's weight had increased. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7i. Dr. Alves noted plaintiff's report of decreased itching but continued diarrhea and continued plaintiff's medication pending the gastroenterology consultation. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7i.

  Plaintiff received over-the-counter medication in response to complaints of a sore shoulder and itchy feet on August 27th, September 5th, and September 17th. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7j. Plaintiff was evaluated by Dr. Shaw-Stiffel at Strong Memorial Hospital's Liver Clinic on October 9, 2000. Dkt. #32, Exh. A. Dr. Shaw-Stiffel's impression/recommendations were, inter alia, as follows:
• Nathaniel apparently has chronic hepatitis C, although confirmation of this with a hepatitis C RNA by PCR will be required prior to embarking [upon] a liver biopsy. As well, hepatitis C genotype would be of help in terms of prognostic and therapeutic implications, as you may know. Genotype 1 is more difficult to treat compared to type 2 or 3.
• A liver biopsy would help evaluate the degree of any liver damage prior to starting treatment with Rebetron or the new pegylated (once a week) interferon, once it is approved next year by the FDA.
Dkt. #32, Exh. A.

  Dr. Alves reviewed Dr. Shaw-Stiffel's report on October 17, 2000 and ordered the recommended blood work. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7m. Dr. Alves also prescribed Actigall, a drug which treats liver cirrhosis and is commonly prescribed to hepatitis C patients. Dkt. #32, ¶ 7m. ...


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