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Case Dismissed in Favor of Prison Doctor After Inmate Sued for Failure to Refer to Specialist and Provide Pain Meds

Area of Law:
Civil Rights 42 U.S.C. §1983

U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (2015)

Dismissed – Summary Judgment

Mrs. Boyer fell from her upper prison bunk. She fractured her left her humerus near the shoulder. The Defendant medical provider ordered that she be sent for treatment at  the emergency department of a local hospital. The hospital’s medical personnel recommended that Mrs. Boyer see an orthopedic surgeon, within five days. Upon her return to the prison, the Defendant medical provider gave short-term orders, until  Mrs. Boyer could have a face-to-face appointment with a physician at the prison. Mrs. Boyer then saw a physician, who was not the Defendant medical provider. That physician determined a treatment plan and did not refer Mrs. Boyer to an orthopedic surgeon, at that time. Several weeks later, the Defendant medical provider learned that Mrs. Boyer was in need of follow-up medical care. He referred her to an orthopedic surgeon for a consultation. The orthopedic surgeon determined that Mrs. Boyer did not need surgery. This orthopedic surgeon later determined that Mrs. Boyer’s healing was fairly complete and that she should have a fairly functional shoulder. Mrs. Boyer sued Defendant medical provider, alleging that he was deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs: by not providing sufficient pain mediation, by not ordering that she stay in the prison infirmary, and by not referring her to an orthopedic surgeon sooner. Mr. Boyer sued for loss of consortium. In granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court opined, “Plaintiff’s belief that she should have received more comprehensive and unrestricted care is not cognizable. The actions [Defendant medical provider] took demonstrate that he was anything but deliberately indifferent to plaintiff’s serious medical needs. No deliberate indifference has been shown.” The Court dismissed Mr. Boyer’s claim, finding that such a claim is not cognizable where the underlying claim is one pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983.

Ronald Chapman
Carly Van Thomme

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