United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
plaintiff Todd Quavion Carter is a patient at the Mendota
Mental Health Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. Plaintiff has
filed a complaint alleging that while he was in the custody
of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, incarcerated at
the Columbia Correctional Institution, prison personnel were
deliberately indifferent to his mental health needs and did
not adequately treat an overdose he experienced. The court
determined that plaintiff qualifies for in forma
pauperis status, and plaintiff paid the initial partial
filing fee that the court set. Dkt. 5.
next step is for the court to screen the complaint and
dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious,
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or
asks for money damages from a defendant who by law cannot be
sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. When screening
a pro se litigant’s complaint, the court construes the
allegations liberally and in the plaintiff’s favor.
McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir.
2010). Now that I have considered plaintiff’s
allegations, I will dismiss his complaint for failure to
comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. I will allow
plaintiff to file an amended complaint that addresses the
issues I identify in this order.
the following facts from plaintiff’s complaint.
states that he is mentally ill. When he was incarcerated at
the Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI), plaintiff began
hearing voices. He notified defendant Sergeant Gerry, a CCI
correctional officer, that he was having suicidal thoughts
and that he needed to speak to someone; Sergeant Gerry
ignored plaintiff’s requests.
defendant Lieutenant Bredamann, another CCI correctional
officer, came to plaintiff’s cell. By that point,
plaintiff was very depressed and took 43 Thorazine pills in
front of him. Lieutenant Bredamann instructed plaintiff to
place his hands out to be restrained, and plaintiff complied.
Lieutenant Bredamann took plaintiff to see defendant Kim
Cambell, a CCI nurse. After taking plaintiff’s vitals,
nurse Cambell stated, “he’s lying he didn’t
take any pills.” Dkt. 1, at 7. At this point, plaintiff
began to feel drowsy and his stomach began to hurt.
was taken back to his cell, where unidentified prison
personnel stripped plaintiff naked and “degraded and
embarrassed” him. Id. Plaintiff continued to
experience extreme stomach pain and chills. He was forced to
lie on his cold cell floor, naked and in pain.
hours later, Lieutenant Bredamann returned to
plaintiff’s cell to escort him to the Health Services
Unit. Defendant Dr. Vickery performed an EKG, but instead of
sending plaintiff to the hospital, he sent plaintiff back to
his cell, even though plaintiff was in pain.
hours later, defendant Lieutenant Buettner, a third CCI
correctional officer, came to plaintiff’s cell to
escort him to the hospital. Plaintiff stood up but fell,
because of the overdose, hitting the back of his head.
Plaintiff received treatment at the hospital that alleviated
believes that defendants purposefully mishandled the
situation to hurt him.
brings an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim for
failure to provide adequate medical care, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. The Eighth Amendment prohibits prison
officials from acting with deliberate indifference toward
prisoners’ serious medical needs. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-04 (1976). A “serious
medical need” may be a condition that a doctor has
recognized as needing treatment or one for which the
necessity of treatment would be obvious to a lay person.
Johnson v. Snyder, 444 F.3d 579, 584-85 (7th Cir.
2006). A medical need may be serious if it is life
threatening, carries risks of permanent serious impairment if
left untreated, results in needless pain and suffering,
significantly affects an individual’s daily activities,
Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1371-73 (7th
Cir. 1997), or otherwise subjects the prisoner to a
substantial risk of serious harm. Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994). For a defendant to be deliberately
indifferent to such a need, he or she must know of the need
and disregard it. Id. at 834. But “the Eighth
Amendment is not a vehicle for bringing claims for medical
malpractice.” Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586,
590 (7th Cir. 1996). A plaintiff must demonstrate more than
mere negligence by defendant. Farmer, 511 U.S. at
plaintiff has adequately alleged that he suffered from a
serious medical need-namely, an untreated overdose-his
allegations concerning defendants’ deliberate
indifference leave something to be desired. To state an
Eighth Amendment claim against each of the individual
defendants, plaintiff must specifically articulate how each
defendant knew about his serious medical need and then
purposefully ignored or disregarded it. I can assume that the
medical staff, nurse Cambell and Dr. Vickery, were aware that
plaintiff at least claimed to have overdosed: nurse Cambell
believed that plaintiff was lying about taking the pills, and
Dr. Vickery had to have had some reason to perform
an EKG. But plaintiff does not explain how what the medical
staff did qualifies as deliberate indifference. Both
defendants examined plaintiff, and it is not clear that
either defendant had any reason to believe that additional
examination or treatment was necessary. Lieutenant Buettner
did not do anything to disregard plaintiff’s medical
condition; his only role was to escort plaintiff to the
hospital. The same may be said of Lieutenant Bredamann; he
saw plaintiff overdose and promptly took him to receive
medical attention. Plaintiff comes closest to stating a ...