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Carlos Sanchez, 05-A-6204 v. Lester Wright

February 17, 2012

CARLOS SANCHEZ, 05-A-6204, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LESTER WRIGHT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. United States 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. #15.

Plaintiff commenced this pro se action seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the denial of sufficient pain medication during his incarceration at the Attica Correctional Facility ("Attica"), commencing October 3, 2008. Dkt. #4. Plaintiff was transferred to the Great Meadow Correctional Facility ("Great Meadow"), on or about May 28, 2009, and amended his complaint to allege denial of sufficient pain medication at this facility as well. Dkt. #23. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that Dr. Rao and P.A. Schunk at Attica and Dr. Karandy and Dr. Maddocks at Great Meadow refused his continued requests for narcotic pain medication and instead prescribed anti-inflammatory medication for his chronic right wrist and left elbow pain. Dkt. ##4 & 23. Dr. Lester Wright, retired Deputy Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"), is also named as a defendant because plaintiff complained to Dr. Wright about the denial of continued narcotic pain medication. Dkt. #4.

Currently before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. Dkt. #35. For the following reasons, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On March 12, 2008, while incarcerated at Great Meadow, Dr. McGill performed surgery on plaintiff's right wrist to correct an old fracture which had not healed properly. Dkt. #36, ¶¶ 4-5. Plaintiff received a prescription for Percocet and MS Contin for two weeks. Dkt. #36, ¶ 5. On March 24, 2008, plaintiff complained of hip pain and was prescribed Ultram 50 mg twice a day for five days. Dkt. #36, ¶ 6. On March 27, 2008, plaintiff was seen for a post-operative visit and prescribed Percocet, every eight hours, for four weeks. Dkt. #36, ¶ 7. On March 28, 2008, plaintiff was caught with three pills in his mouth. Dkt. #36, ¶ 7. On April 4, 2008, the Percocet order was extended for an additional three weeks. Dkt. #36, ¶ 7. On April 23, 2008, plaintiff continued to complain of pain in his right arm, prompting the physician to continue the Percocet order for two more weeks, but decreased the dosage to two pills twice a day. Dkt. #36, ¶ 8. The Percocet order was extended an additional two days as plaintiff was scheduled to be seen by the surgeon on this date. Dkt. #36, ¶ 8.

During examination by Dr. McGill on May 8, 2008, plaintiff complained of left elbow pain, prompting Dr. McGill to recommend removal of the pin from plaintiff's left elbow. Dkt. #36, ¶ 9. Plaintiff was continued on Percocet for an additional two weeks, with the dosage decreased to one pill twice a day. Dkt. #36, ¶ 9. On June 18, 2008, the dosage of Percocet was decreased to one pill twice a day. Dkt. #36, ¶ 11. On June 19, 2008, Dr. McGill ordered physical therapy for plaintiff's wrist and determined no follow-up treatment was necessary. Dkt. #36, ¶ 10. On June 23, plaintiff's dosage of Percocet was decreased to one pill per day for three days. Dkt. #36, ¶ 11. During this post-operative period, Plaintiff was observed cheeking Percocet, i.e., holding the pill in his cheek rather than swallowing it. Dkt. #36, ¶ 10.

On June 30, 2008, plaintiff complained of left elbow pain, left arm pain and back pain, for which he was prescribed Tylenol and an analgesic balm. Dkt. #36, ¶ 11. Following complaints of left shoulder pain on July 1, 2008, plaintiff was prescribed Motrin 600 mg every six hours. Dkt. #36, ¶ 11. Plaintiff was seen by a Nurse Practitioner on July 21, 2008, who noted no limitation in the range of motion of plaintiff's right wrist and observed no acute distress. Dkt. #36, ¶ 13.

Plaintiff complained of pain in his left elbow on August 15, 2008, but requested any consultation be held until he was transferred. Dkt. #36, ¶ 15. Plaintiff was prescribed Percocet, two pills every morning for a month. Dkt. #36, ¶ 15. That prescription was continued for another month on September 8, 2008. Dkt. #36, ¶ 16. On September 23, plaintiff was prescribed two tablets of Percocet twice a day for a week following complaints of pain in his left arm. Dkt. #36, ¶ 17.

Plaintiff was transferred to Attica on October 2, 2008 and reported to sick call seeking Percocet for wrist pain the next day. Dkt. #36, ¶ 18. Plaintiff continued to request Percocet at sick call on October 16, October 20, and November 3, 2008, refusing offers of Tylenol, Ibuprofen or aspirin. Dkt. #36, ¶¶ 19-20. On November 12, 2008, Dr. Rao examined plaintiff and prescribed Ultram, 50 mg, two pills at night, for one week. Dkt. #36, ¶ 21. Dr. Rao refused to continue the prescription for Ultram following examination on November 20, 2008, prescribing Naprosyn, 500 mg, twice a day, instead. Dkt. #36, ¶ 22. Dr. Rao also ordered occupational therapy. Dkt. #38,

¶ 22. Dr. Rao advised plaintiff that

Ultram was no longer indicated for his post-surgery condition (as his surgery had taken place approximately nine months earlier). The Plaintiff was at that time in the rehabilitative stage, which does not require Ultram, and Ultram was not appropriate . . . for his post-surgery condition. Dkt. #38, ¶ 22. Plaintiff discontinued the Naproxyn due to digestive issues. Dkt. #36, ¶¶ 23-24.

An examination on December 11, 2008 following plaintiff's complaints of left elbow pain and request for Ultram revealed full range of motion of plaintiff's left elbow and no neurological issues. Dkt. #36, ¶ 24. Plaintiff was prescribed a different anti-inflammatory medication. Dkt. #36, ¶ 24. On March 6, 2008, plaintiff complained that the hardware in his left elbow seemed to have moved and complained of pain radiating to his left shoulder. Dkt. #36, ¶ 25. Plaintiff complained of pain in his right wrist and left elbow radiating to his back on March 30, 2009. Dkt. #36, ¶ 26. Plaintiff complained of neck pain and left arm pain on April 30, 2009, at which time it was noted plaintiff was scheduled for an appointment at the orthopedic clinic. Dkt. #26, ¶ 28. He was prescribed an analgesic balm. Dkt. #36, ¶ 28. Plaintiff was given Tylenol with an analgesic balm on May 4, 2009 following his complaint of pain in his left shoulder and elbow. Dkt. #36, ¶ 29. On May 14, 2009, Dr. Coniglio, an orthopedist, recommended removal of the hardware in plaintiff's left elbow. Dkt. #36, ¶ 29.

Plaintiff was transferred to Great Meadow on or about May 28, 2009. Dkt. #36, ¶ 30. Plaintiff requested Ultam for right hand and left elbow pain on June 1, 2009. Dkt. #36, ¶ 30. Plaintiff was prescribed an anti-inflammatory twice a day for one month pending an orthopedic consult. Dkt. #36, ¶ 30. On July 10, 2009, Dr. Rubinovich, an orthopedic surgeon, examined plaintiff and recommended continuation of Ultram for plaintiff's right wrist pain and removal of the hardware in plaintiff's left elbow. Dkt. #39, p.23. On July 20, 2009, Dr. Karandy prescribed Ultram for one month, with the expectation that once plaintiff underwent surgery on his left elbow, the Ultram would no longer be needed. Dkt. #39, ¶ 32. Surgery was performed to remove hardware from plaintiff's left elbow on August 10, 2009. Dkt. #36, ¶ 32. Plaintiff was ...


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