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Miles v. County of Broome

March 6, 2006

YAHTEEK MILES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF BROOME, DAVID HARDER, BROOME COUNTY SHERIFF, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, PRIMECARE MEDICAL, INC., TERESA ANN SACCO-BEDOSKY, VICKIE LYNN POTOCHNIAK, MICHELE PARSONS, BETSY JEAN KUBO, HOPE WOODCOCK, SUSAN VAZIRI-COHEN, AND JOHN AND JANE DOE, CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS AND MEDICAL PERSONNEL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY Senior United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff commenced the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by failing to provide him adequate medical care while he was incarcerated at the Broome County Correctional Facility. Presently before the Court are Defendants' motions for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 seeking dismissal of the Complaint in its entirety.

II. FACTS

As of November 3, 2001, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Broome County Correctional Facility ("BCCF"). On November 3 or 4, 2001, Plaintiff injured both of his wrists while playing basketball. On November 4, 2001, Plaintiff presented to the medical facility at the BCCF.*fn1 Plaintiff complained that he broke both of his wrists and that he was in extreme pain. Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Michele Parsons, R.N. Parsons noted: mild edema post. aspect proximal from 2nd-3rd digit @ wrist. Limited ROM. 2° pain. Bilat. palp. [No] obvious deformities, . . . strong bilat. radial pulses easily palpated. Denies distal numbness/tingling - cap refills < 2="" sec.="" no="" open="" areas/active="" drainage.="" no="" acute="">

Parsons gave Plaintiff ice and ordered 400 milligrams of Advil. Parsons also placed Plaintiff on the physician's list for follow-up exam and reassessment.

On November 5, 2001, Plaintiff had a follow up visit at the medical facility. He was examined by Defendant Vicki Lynn Potochniak, a registered physician's assistant. According to the medical records, at this time, Plaintiff reported that his pain had decreased and he had increased movement in his wrists. Potochniak noted slight tenderness over the right distal radius with no swelling or deformity. The medical notes indicate that Plaintiff's left wrist had mild edema, full range of motion, and no obvious deformities. Plaintiff, however, testified that he recalled having swelling on both wrists. Potochniak further found that Plaintiff had a strong bilateral pulse to both wrists, good capillary refill, no acute distress, and Plaintiff denied any distal numbness or tingling. Potochniak diagnosed Plaintiff with bilateral wrist sprain, prescribed 800 milligrams of Advil (up from the 400mg previously given by Parsons), and recommended a follow-up in three to five days if pain persisted.

Later that date, Plaintiff was erroneously issued Darvocet. There is a factual dispute whether Plaintiff misidentified himself to acquire the medication.*fn2 As a consequence of Plaintiff's having taken the Darvocet, he was kept in the medical unit overnight for observation. There is no indication in the medical records that Plaintiff complained of wrist pain while he was retained in the medical unit. According to Plaintiff, however, he complained of wrist pain every time he went to the medical unit. The next day, November 6, 2001, Plaintiff stated that he was feeling fine and asked to be released from the medical unit. Plaintiff was released from the medical unit.

On November 16, 2001, Plaintiff requested to be seen at the medical unit. In his request, Plaintiff complained of headaches and stomach cramps. He made no written mention of pain in his wrists. Plaintiff's medical records also indicate that Plaintiff was seen for headaches and stomach cramps. There is no mention in the medical records of Plaintiff having complained of wrist pain. At deposition, however, Plaintiff testified that he complained of wrist pain, but was ignored.

On November 19, 2001, Plaintiff was again seen in the medical unit in response to complaints of headaches and stomach cramps. Again, none of the written medical records indicate that Plaintiff complained of wrist pain. At deposition, Plaintiff testified that he listed headaches and stomach aches on his medical request form to get into the medical unit to have his wrists tended to. Plaintiff further testified that, once in the medical unit, he complained of wrist pain, but was ignored.

On November 21, 2001, Plaintiff was transferred out of the BCCF. On January 9, 2002, Plaintiff had a radiological consultation of his right wrist. Ellen Czajka, M.D. concluded "negative right wrist. . . . There is no bone, joint or soft tissue abnormality demonstrated." On February 20, 2002, Plaintiff had another radiological consultation of his right wrist. Rosa V. Samson, M.D., concluded had the following impression:

No definite fracture of the distal radius and ulna as well as the carpal bones in the views available, however, the views are markedly limited in technique. Follow-up examination with better technique is recommended. There are multiple artifactual densities possibly produced by the fluid for developing the films.

Dr. Samson concluded "[t]here is no gross fracture of the navicular bones identified, however, the navicular views are not completely optimal." On February 28, 2002, Plaintiff under went further radiological consultation. The impression of Edward Larow, M.D., was:

1. Questionable fracture at the base of right fourth metacarpal as described. . . .

2. No right scaphoid fracture identified. If the patient has had a history of fracture I would assume it is healed. There is some sclerosis of the proximal pole of the right scaphoid as described in the body of the report.

3. Healing at left scaphoid fracture with only a small transverse component seen dorsally. There is no significant displacement. There is however some mild sclerosis of the proximal pole of the left scaphoid as described.

A further radiological consultation by Ellen Czajka, M.D. and dated March 20, 2002 concluded "negative left wrist. negative right wrist." Dr. Czajka found no bone, joint or soft tissue abnormality in either wrist. Plaintiff has not sought any further medical treatment for his wrists since being discharged from Butler Correctional Facility.

Based on the foregoing facts, Plaintiff contends that Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff argues that, by failing to order X-Rays for his wrists and failing to immobilize his wrists, Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff further contends that ...


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