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Beck v. Richards

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

August 3, 2017

CRAIG BECK PLAINTIFF
v.
MIKE RICHARDS, individually; PATRICK STAGE, individually; PHILLIP BENTLEY, individually; TIFFANY EICHLER, individually and in her official capacity as nurse in Saline County Detention Center; and SALINE COUNTY, ARKANSAS DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Craig Beck claims that he was denied adequate medical care while he was a pretrial detainee in the custody of the Saline County Detention Facility (“SCDF”). Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Patrick Stage and Tiffany Eichler[1]and a motion for summary judgment filed under seal by defendants Mike Richards, Phillip Bentley, and Saline County, Arkansas (“Saline County”) (Dkt. Nos. 25; 29). Mr. Beck, who is represented by counsel in this action, has not responded to the motions for summary judgment, and the time to do so has passed. For the following reasons, the Court grants both motions for summary judgment and dismisses with prejudice this action.

         I. Background

         The following facts are taken from the statement of facts filed in conjunction with the defendants' motions for summary judgment (Dkt. Nos. 26; 31). As Mr. Beck failed to respond to the motions for summary judgment, these facts are deemed admitted. See E.D. Ark. R. 56.1(c) (“All material facts set forth in the statement filed by the moving party pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be deemed admitted unless controverted by the statement filed by the non-moving party under paragraph (b).”).

         Mr. Beck was booked into the SCDF on January 6, 2014. On January 9, 2014, he filed a grievance requesting to see a nurse and claiming “that he needed medications, that he had coronary heart diseases, significant blockage, chest pains, had a bad EKG and x-ray two weeks before and that he had been instructed to see the cardiologist ASAP” (Dkt. No. 26, ¶ 7). In response to the grievance, Ms. Eichler spoke with Mr. Beck. At all times relevant to this action, Ms. Eichler was a Licensed Practical Nurse (“LPN”) employed by Southern Health Partners, Inc. (“SHP”), which provided medical services for inmates housed at the SCDF. As an LPN, Ms. Eichler did not have the authority to prescribe medications.

         After speaking with Mr. Beck, Ms. Eichler requested his medical records from Conway Regional Health System. Ms. Eichler reviewed Mr. Beck's medical records and determined that his claims regarding the results of his recent EKG and x-ray were inaccurate:

Specifically, Beck was seen at Conway Regional on December 19, 2013, where he had an unremarkable chest x-ray, an EKG with no acute changes, and the discharge note states “At this point, I have no reason to believe patient has life or limb-threatening problems or emergency medical condition and we are preparing to discharge him in good condition.” The discharge plan was to follow-up as an outpatient or to return to Conway Regional as needed.

(Id., ¶ 8).

         Ms. Eichler saw Mr. Beck on January 10, 2014, to verify his medications. Mr. Beck informed Ms. Eichler that he received his medications from a Wal-Mart pharmacy, but when Ms.

         Eichler contacted the pharmacy, she could not verify the medications that Mr. Beck told her he was prescribed for his coronary disease. Within two and a half hours of initially speaking with Mr. Beck, Ms. Eichler returned to Mr. Beck's cell to determine whether there were any other doctors or pharmacies from which he could have received the medications. Upon Ms. Eichler's return visit, Mr. Beck did not cooperate, but rather became hostile and belligerent. “While it is disputed exactly what happened, even [Mr.] Beck admits that someone called [Ms.] Eichler a ‘bitch, ' and that from the way it occurred, the staff believed that someone to be Beck” (Dkt. No. 31, ¶ 10). Ms. Eichler started Mr. Beck on his requested Aspirin treatment on January 10 or January 11, 2014, while she continued the necessary process of verifying his medications. Ms. Eichler was able to verify all of Mr. Beck's requested medications by January 15, 2014, and he began receiving his medications as they were verified.

         While incarcerated at SCDF, Mr. Beck frequently complained about chest pain. Health care staff responded to Mr. Beck's complaints by “order[ing] EKGs and blood work, the results of which were contradictive of his complaints” (Dkt. No. 26, ¶ 12). In response to Mr. Beck's request to see his cardiologist at the Arkansas Heart Hospital, Mr. Stage scheduled an appointment for him. Arkansas Heart Hospital waived its normal upfront payment requirement for Mr. Beck's visit. At all times relevant to this action, Mr. Stage was an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (“ANP”) employed by SHP. Mr. Stage worked at the Arkansas Heart Hospital and has specialized training and knowledge in cardiac care. As an ANP, he can write prescriptions for medications.

         Dr. Mehmet Cilingiroglu saw Mr. Beck at the Arkansas Heart Hospital on January 31, 2014. After seeing Mr. Beck, Dr. Mehmet:

[D]id not require any particular procedure, and did not identify any immediate cardiac issue. He had, per the complaints of [Mr.] Beck, suggested certain procedures, but [Mr.] Beck asked to hold the procedures until [Mr.] Beck had checked on this resources. Dr. Mehmet noted in the records that there was no acute distress and the heart had a regular rhythm. His discharge instructions were for a follow-up ...

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