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Wood v. Billings

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 27, 2016

LORENZO WOOD, JR., Plaintiff,


          HON. RUDOLPH T. RANDA U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Lorenzo Wood, who is representing himself, filed an amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that his civil rights had been violated. (ECF No. 34.) The Court screened the plaintiff’s amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C §1915A(a) and allowed him to proceed with his claims that Sue Neil, Patricia Billings, and Mark Bender were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (ECF No. 33.) The Court granted Bender’s motion for summary judgment on September 8, 2014. (ECF No. 55.) On January 19, 2016, Neil filed a motion for summary judgment. That motion is now fully briefed and ready for the Court’s decision.[1]

         I. RELEVANT FACTS[2]

         At the relevant time, the plaintiff was incarcerated at the Racine County Correctional Institution (“Racine”), which is a medium-security institution. Defendant Neil is currently employed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (“DOC”) as a Nurse Clinician 2 at Racine.

         On November 3, 2010, the plaintiff had an MRI exam. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with a probable ACL tear to his left knee. On December 17, 2010, the plaintiff was seen by Dr. Grossman at Waupun Memorial Hospital for an orthopedic consultation. On January 27, 2011, Dr. Grossman performed a surgical procedure on the plaintiff’s left knee. Dr. Grossman also provided post-op orders that included the following: prescription for the pain reliever Lortab, weight bearing as tolerated, dressing changes for seventy-two hours then a switch to band aids, a hinged knee brace, elevation of the knee/leg, ice on the affected area, and notification to the Racine doctor in the event the knee becomes swollen.

         According to the medical records, on January 31, 2011, Racine nurse Debbie Nutting cleaned the surgery site and changed the dressings, at which time she noted no sign of infection. However, the plaintiff states that no one examined him on January 31, 2011, nor did anyone clean the surgery site that day. He explains, “Any alleged exhibits put into evidence by [Neil] . . . is nothing but a fabrication by [Racine] nursing staff to doctor up the records.” (ECF No. 107 ¶ 8.)

         On February 10, 2011, Nurse Billings removed the plaintiff’s stiches. The medical records indicate there was no sign of infection. The plaintiff agrees that Billings removed his stiches that day, but he disagrees that there was no sign of infection. Later that day, Nurse Amandy Moore (the plaintiff argues it was Billings) examined the plaintiff’s knee. He complained of pain and stiffness with drainage that increased after the stiches were removed. According to the medical records, the plaintiff’s wounds were cleaned, antibiotic ointment was applied to the wounds, and he was given pain medication, ice, and supplies for bandage changes.

         Neil examined the plaintiff’s knee the following day, on February 11, 2011, for the first time. The plaintiff complained of “spurting serous fluid from medial aspect of an old suture site.” (Id. at ¶11.) He denied chills, but complained of “increased stiffness in his right [sic] knee and large amounts of drainage.” (Id.) Neil states that she consulted with Dr. Grossman and physician’s assistant Mark Bender. Neil states that she spoke with Dr. Grossman on the phone, and he instructed that the surgical wound site be reinforced with steri-strips and an Ace wrap. He also reordered pain medication and prescribed an antibiotic. According to Neil, Dr. Grossman ordered her to follow up with the plaintiff on February 14, 2011.

         Neil states that on February 14, 2011, she followed up with the plaintiff as instructed. She noted that the plaintiff’s knee had no redness or swelling and that the steri-strips were intact. She observed a small amount of drainage. She updated Dr. Grossman, who made no changes to his treatment instructions. The plaintiff disputes Neil’s statements, arguing that she did not examine him on February 14, 2011.

         According to the final report authored by Dr. Grossman, he contacted Racine health staff on February 14 and someone (Neil does not clarify who) reported that the plaintiff was healing well. Dr. Grossman recommended that the knee be steri-stripped and that the plaintiff start antibiotics.

         Neil states that she followed Dr. Grossman’s orders by ensuring the wound was steri-stripped and ordering the Ciprofloxacin. She also states that she had no further involvement with the treatment of the plaintiff’s left knee after February 14, 2011.

         According to the medical records, the next day, on February 15, 2011, Racine staff contacted Dr. Grossman to inform him that the plaintiff’s knee was not doing well. Dr. Grossman recommended that the plaintiff be transported to the emergency room. The plaintiff was later assessed with a probable septic left knee. Dr. Grossman recommended emergent arthroscopy with irrigation. The plaintiff underwent an irrigation and debridement procedure and a second-look arthroscopy on February 18, 2011.

         On February 24, 2011, the plaintiff was admitted to the infirmary at the Dodge Correctional Institution, where he received treatment for his knee. On March 23, ...

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