United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
MATTHEW C. STECHAUNER, Plaintiff,
PATRICK MURPHY, PHILIP WHEATLEY, TROY SHEIDE, GARY NEAU, and DORRIE HANSEN, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Matthew C. Stechauner, a Wisconsin prisoner
incarcerated at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OCI),
is proceeding on deliberate indifference claims against
defendants Patrick Murphy, Philip Wheatley, Troy Sheide, and
Dorrie Hansen for denial of medical treatment and against
defendant Gary Neau for ignoring his suicide threat. Dkt. 31,
at 11. Stechauner filed a motion for a preliminary
injunction, alleging that he was being denied medical
treatment for his chronic cough, chest pain, and throat pain,
but I denied the motion because Stechauner was actually
receiving medical treatment. Dkt. 20.
now renews his motion for a preliminary injunction, alleging
again that defendants are denying him medical treatment. Dkt.
41. He seeks an order compelling medical treatment that
addresses his chronic cough, chest pain, and throat pain.
Stechauner's motion is now fully briefed, and the
parties' submissions show that he is receiving medical
treatment, so I will deny the motion.
obtain a preliminary injunction, the movant must show that:
(1) he will likely suffer irreparable harm before the final
resolution of his claim without a preliminary injunction; (2)
traditional legal remedies are inadequate; and (3) his claim
has some likelihood of success on the merits. See Winter
v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008);
BBL, Inc. v. City of Angola, 809 F.3d 317, 323-24
(7th Cir. 2015). Once the movant makes this showing, the
court “weighs the factors against one another,
assessing whether the balance of harms favors the moving
party or whether the harm to other parties or the public is
sufficiently weighty that the injunction should be
denied.” BBL, 809 F.3d at 324. (citing ACLU of Ill.
v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 589 (7th Cir. 2012)). Here,
Stechauner's motion turns on the first requirement.
court must determine whether a preliminary injunction would
address the alleged irreparable harm. See Milwaukee
Police Ass'n v. Jones, 192 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir.
1999). The movant must show that he needs the proposed
preliminary injunction to address the alleged harm;
otherwise, he fails to satisfy the irreparable harm
requirement of a preliminary injunction. See United
States v. W. T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 633 (1953);
Milwaukee Police Ass'n, 192 F.3d at 748; Flynn v.
Burns, No. 17-cv-312, 2018 WL 587889, at *18 (E.D. Wis.
Jan. 29, 2018).
Stechauner has not satisfied the irreparable harm requirement
because the proposed injunctive relief cannot address the
alleged harm. Stechauner insists that various medical
professionals, including defendants and nonparties, must
relieve him of his symptoms because failure to do so
constitutes deliberate indifference. In particular,
Stechauner's proposed preliminary injunction includes
terms that require: Wheatley to give him medicine that would
actually cure his conditions; Wheatley to stop giving
Stechauner medicine that does not relieve his chronic cough,
chest pain, and throat pain; Wheatley to stop sending
Stechauner to a hospitals that are not affiliated with the
University of Wisconsin; and all defendants, their employers,
and their agents to stop allowing Stechauner to suffer from
parties' submissions show that defendants and other
medical professionals continually provide medical treatment
to Stechauner. Such treatment is the “antithesis of
deliberate indifference.” Harper v. Santos,
847 F.3d 923, 927 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting McGee v.
Adams, 721 F.3d 474, 482 (7th Cir. 2013)). Danielle
Foster, a manager of the health services unit (HSU) at OCI,
states in her declaration that Stechauner continues to
receive medical treatment on a regular basis. Dkt. 51.
Between April 5, 2017, and March 19, 2018, HSU staff saw him
more than two dozen times. Id. ¶ 9. HSU staff
gave Stechauner a bronchodilator, pain medicine, cough syrup,
and various antihistamines. Id. ¶ 6. Even
though prison medical professionals have not identified the
cause of Stechauner's symptoms, they have sent him to
off-site hospitals and conducted various diagnostic tests,
including a laryngoscopy, a bronchoscopy, blood tests, and a
CT scan. Id. ¶¶ 10-19. Stechauner
acknowledges in his declaration that he has been sent to
hospitals 13 times for diagnoses and treatment, even though
those hospital visits did not relieve him of his symptoms.
Dkt. 44, ¶¶ 2-3. The diagnostic tests could not
identify the cause of Stechauner's symptoms. For example,
an endoscopy showed “no significant abnormality”
on March 29, 2017. Dkt. 51-1, at 84. On September 26, 2017, a
doctor who reviewed a radiology report of Stechauner's
chest wrote, “The lungs are clear . . . No.
radiographic evidence of acute cardiopulmonary
disease.” Id. at 44. The fact that the
treatment did not successfully treat Stechauner does not
entitle him to a preliminary injunction. The Eighth Amendment
prohibits prison officials from turning a blind eye to
serious medical problems; it does not guarantee a cure.
also asks for an injunction that compels courses of treatment
that he believes would help his symptoms. For example,
Stechauner asks for an order requiring Wheatley to prescribe
him Codeine-an opioid-to help with his symptoms and send him
to the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics to see a
specialist there. Stechauner is not entitled to dictate the
terms of his care, see Harper, 847 F.3d at 927, and he
presents no evidence that the courses of treatment he
proposes would be any better than the courses of treatment he
has been receiving.
considered whether to hold a hearing to assess whether
Wheatley and other medical professionals are persisting on
courses of treatment that they know are ineffective; such
persistence can show deliberate indifference. See Petties
v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 730 (7th Cir. 2016). I conclude
that a hearing is unnecessary. Multiple medical
professionals, including those at the off-site hospitals,
have made different attempts to help Stechauner, with his
symptoms. For example, they tried various medicines to
address his symptoms, but the medicines they tried did not
work. Different diagnostic tests could not identify the cause
of Stechauner's symptoms. Stechauner has suffered for
over two years from chronic cough, chest pain, and throat
pain. But he has no evidence that Wheatley and other medical
professionals persist with futile treatment when effective
options are available.
deny Stechauner's renewed motion for a preliminary
ORDERED that plaintiff Matthew C. Stechauner's motion for
preliminary injunction, Dkt. 41, is DENIED.