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Atkisson v. Lafferty

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

February 19, 2015

ERIC EUGENE ATKISSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. SCOTT LAFFERTY; NURSE DARLA WATSON; and SHERIFF CRADDUCK, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

MARK E. FORD, Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis.

The Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC). The events that are the subject of this case occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Benton County Detention Center (BCDC). Plaintiff maintains his constitutional rights were violated when Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Specifically, he contends Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his need for treatment of an injury to his left pinky finger and his need for anxiety medication.

The Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 31). The Plaintiff requested the Court's assistance in responding to the motion by preparation of a questionnaire. The questionnaire was prepared and sent to the Plaintiff (Doc. 39). The Plaintiff has filed his Response (Doc. 46). At the request of the Court, the Defendants filed a supplement (Doc. 47) containing more legible copies of certain pages of their exhibit B-1 and an additional page of Plaintiff's deposition that was referred to in their brief but not provided to the Court. The Motion is ready for decision.

1. Background

Plaintiff was booked into the BCDC on September 11, 2013. Defendants' Exhibit (hereinafter Defts' Ex. ) A at 6.[1] He remained incarcerated there until May 15, 2014. Id. at 6-7.

On November 4, 2013, Plaintiff testified he woke up having a panic attack and jumped off of his top bunk. Plaintiff's Response (hereinafter Resp. ) at ¶ 3; Defts' Ex. A at 9. He almost stepped on another inmate. Defts' Ex. A at 9. When he went to catch himself, Plaintiff testified he tore the ligaments of his left hand. Id. Specifically, he hit his left "pinky" finger on the table hyper-extending it. Id. He immediately felt pain. Id.

The injury occurred just prior to medication call. Resp. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff went out to get his medication and reported the injury to Nurse Sara. Id. at ¶ 5. According to Plaintiff, she noticed swelling and told the Plaintiff to complete a sick call request. Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff believed he should have been sent to the emergency room. Defts' Ex. A at 13.

Plaintiff submitted his first written medical request via the kiosk system on November 15, 2013. Defts' Ex. B-1 at 11. He asked to be put on the next nurse call. Id. Prior to November 15th, Plaintiff maintains he made multiple verbal requests to medical staff and jail deputies starting on November 4th. Resp. at ¶¶ 8-9.

Plaintiff was seen by Nurse Watson on November 20th. Resp. at ¶ 10. Nurse Watson called Dr. Lafferty, who ordered an x-ray of Plaintiff's left hand. Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff believed an MRI should have been ordered and not an x-ray. Id. at ¶ 12. His belief was based on knowledge he acquired when he injured his right hand. Id. at ¶ 13. He indicated that an MRI was necessary to determine if there were any soft tissue injuries. Id. Plaintiff testified he knew his finger was not broken. Defts' Ex. A at 18.

Plaintiff was prescribed Ibuprofen, 600 mg to be taken three times a day for two weeks. Resp. at ¶ 14. Plaintiff requested pain medication and a splint. Defts' Ex. A at 17-18. He was also prescribed Klonopin (Clonazepam) for anxiety.[2] Defts' Ex. B-1 at 4; Resp. at ¶ 55.

On November 21st, Plaintiff was taken to Mercy Hospital and the x-ray was taken. Resp. at ¶ 15. The x-ray did not reveal any fracture or dislocation of his left hand. Defts' Ex. B at 3.

On November 26th, Plaintiff was informed that his x-rays were negative and that there were no broken bones. Resp. at ¶ 17. That same day, Plaintiff submitted a medical request via the kiosk system because his finger still hurt. Id. at ¶ 18. Plaintiff was not seen at the next nurse's call. Id. at ¶ 20. He does not know why he was not seen. Id. at ¶ 21.

On December 2nd, Plaintiff submitted another medical request saying that if he had missed the last nurse's call he asked to be put on doctor call. Resp. at ¶ 20. In response, Plaintiff was placed on the doctor's call list for December 12th. Defts. Ex. B-1 at 1. Plaintiff was in court and missed doctor call. Defts' Ex. A at 32; Resp. at ¶ 25.

On December 5th, Dr. Lafferty prescribed Meloxicam 15 mg. for tenderness and swelling. Resp. at ¶ 23. However, Plaintiff states he had not been seen by Dr. Lafferty. Id. According to Plaintiff, the Meloxicam did not help with the pain in his finger. Id. at ¶ 24.

On December 17th, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Lafferty. Resp. at ¶ 26. Dr. Lafferty referred Plaintiff to a specialist and "buddy tape" was placed on his left 4th and 5th fingers. Id Plaintiff was also prescribed Celexa 20 mg.[3]

On December 20th, Plaintiff refused to take the Meloxicam any longer and asked to see Dr. Lafferty. Resp. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff believed the medication had increased his pain and, as a side ...


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