United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE.
se plaintiff Milton McDaniel, a prisoner at Waupun
Correctional Institution (“Waupun”), filed this
civil lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming
that defendants' treatment of his eye injury violated his
Eighth Amendment rights. Since filing his complaint, McDaniel
has filed two supplements (dkt. ##11, 13) and a motion
clarifying the defendants against whom he is proceeding (dkt.
#12). The court has considered these filings along with his
complaint for purposes of screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. However, even construing his allegations
generously, the court concludes that to avoid dismissal of
this action with prejudice, McDaniel will have to amend his
complaint to correct the deficiencies described below.
is seeking to proceed against three Waupun employees: nurses
Ann York, Nicole and Kim; Dr. Manlove; Gwendolyn A. Vick. On
September 1, 2017, McDaniel was playing basketball outside at
Waupun, when he was headbutted by another prisoner.
McDaniel's eye swelled up immediately, and McDaniel
notified a correctional officer about his injury, who
arranged for him to be seen in the Health Services Unit
(“HSU”). York examined McDaniel and concluded
that he should been taken off-site, to Waupun Memorial
Hospital. McDaniel arrived at the hospital at around 1:10
p.m. that day and was seen by nurses and a doctor. The doctor
concluded that McDaniel should receive pain medication and
ice, but did not perform any procedure to relieve the
pressure on his eye from the swelling.
September 3, 2017, McDaniel's eye was still completely
swollen shut, and apparently both eyes were swollen to the
size of a golf ball. McDaniel went back to the HSU, where
York examined him, told him there was nothing she could do
and told McDaniel to continue putting ice on it. She did not
lacerate his eye to relieve the pressure on his eye. When
McDaniel subsequently went to the HSU for an appointment, his
blood pressure was high, which he attributes to his pain. He
claims that nurses Nicole and Kim responded similarly to
York. McDaniel claims that he suffers from permanent blurred
vision because no one relieved the pressure on his eye, and
that the swelling did not start to go down until January 2018
when his eyes were finally lacerated to relieve the pressure.
However, McDaniel does not provide any details about who
performed that procedure.
is seeking leave to proceed on an Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claims against defendants. To start, the court
is dismissing Dr. Manlove and Vick because plaintiff has not
alleged any facts suggesting that either defendant
was involved in plaintiff's care related to his eye
injury, or even that they knew about his injury. See
Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833-34 (7th Cir. 2010)
(“individual liability under § 1983 requires
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
York, Nicole and Kim, a prison official may violate the
Eighth Amendment if the official is “deliberately
indifferent” to a “serious medical need.”
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976).
“Serious medical needs” include: (1) conditions
that are life-threatening or that carry risk of permanent
serious impairment if left untreated; (2) withholding of
medical care that results in needless pain and suffering; or
(3) conditions that have been “diagnosed by a physician
as mandating treatment.” Gutierrez v. Peters,
111 F.3d 1364, 1371 (7th Cir. 1997). “Deliberate
indifference” means that the officials are aware that
the prisoner needs medical treatment, but disregard that risk
by consciously failing to take reasonable measures.
Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 266 (7th Cir. 1997).
allegations of delayed care -- even a delay of just a few
days -- may violate the Eighth Amendment if the delay caused
the inmate's condition to worsen or unnecessarily
prolonged his pain. McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636,
640 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[T]he length of delay that is
tolerable depends on the seriousness of the condition and the
ease of providing treatment.”) (citations omitted);
Smith v. Knox County Jail, 666 F.3d 1037, 1039-40
(7th Cir. 2012); Gonzalez v. Feinerman, 663 F.3d
311, 314 (7th Cir. 2011).
this standard, plaintiff's claim must allege three
1. Did plaintiff objectively need medical treatment?
2. Did defendants know that plaintiff needed treatment?
3. Despite their awareness of the need, did defendants
consciously fail to take reasonable measures to provide the
reading plaintiff's allegations generously, while it may
be reasonable to infer that his eye condition constituted a
serious medical need, it would be unreasonable to infer that
the nurses' handling of his eye injury constituted
deliberate indifference. Indeed, on September 1, York
examined him and determined he should receive off-site
treatment, which plaintiff received. Then, the doctor who
examined plaintiff on September 1 at the hospital did not
deem it appropriate to lacerate plaintiff's eye to
relieve pressure, nor has plaintiff alleged that any other
doctor or health care professional concluded that his eye
should have been lacerated earlier. Consequently, on
September 3, when plaintiff was still complaining of pain and
swelling, York was entitled to defer to the doctor's
professional opinion that plaintiff should continue to ice
his eye. Holloway v. Delaware Cty. Sheriff's
Office, 700 F.3d 1063, 1075 (7th Cir. 2012)
(“[N]urses may generally defer to instructions given by
physicians” unless “it is apparent that the
physician's order will likely harm the patient.”);
Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 443 (7th Cir. 2010)
(nurse had an obligation to follow up with appropriate
personnel when presented with problematic treatment