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Grauer v. Tegels

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

October 18, 2019

DAVID J. GRAUER, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN LIZZIE TEGELS, TAMMY MAASSEN, DR. LILY LIU, DEBRA TIDQUIST, KRISTINE PRALLE, JODI DOUGHERTY and ANTHONY HENTZ, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se plaintiff David Grauer filed a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that medical staff at the Jackson Correctional Institution violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by failing to provide him adequate medical treatment for his diabetes. His complaint is before the court for screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Because I conclude that plaintiff has failed to state any claim for relief against defendants, I will dismiss this case.

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts in his amended complaint.

         ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Jackson Correctional Institution, where defendants are employed: Lizzie Tegels is the warden, Tammy Maassen is the health services manager, Debra Tidquist is a nurse practitioner, Lily Liu is a physician, Kristine Pralle and Anthony Hentz are nurses and Jodi Dougherty is the inmate complaint examiner. Plaintiff is suing Tegels in her official capacity.

         Plaintiff had been receiving regular insulin for type 1 diabetes, but it was discontinued on February 18, 2019. On February 21, 2019, plaintiff saw Dr. Liu and Tidquist, who told him that his insulin was being discontinued because of misuse. Although Liu prescribed metaformin as an alternative treatment, plaintiff told Liu and Tidquist that it had not worked for him in the past and made him sick.

         Plaintiff filed an inmate complaint with Dougherty about the incident on February 21, but she failed to investigate and rejected the complaint because the issue had been raised and addressed in a prior complaint. However, plaintiff did not file a previous complaint with respect to this issue. Plaintiff also filed an informal grievance with Maassen on April 28, 2019, alleging that he had a history of type 1 diabetes and high blood sugar levels and had submitted numerous health service requests for regular insulin for his diabetes but Liu refused to prescribe insulin because of “cost considerations.” Maassen failed to do anything.

         The lack of insulin caused plaintiff to have severe neuropathy and high blood sugar levels. After plaintiff continued to file numerous complaints and health service requests, Tidquist restarted plaintiff's insulin.

         In early May 2019, plaintiff's blood sugar level was high (over 600). He asked correctional staff to inform the health services unit. Pralle, who was on call, saw plaintiff and gave him insulin. However, when plaintiff returned to his housing unit, his blood sugar level was still high (478). (It is unclear from plaintiff's allegations, but it appears that Pralle may have given plaintiff another dose of insulin on the same day or another day in early May.) On May 12, 2019, plaintiff was taking long-acting insulin in the health services unit. He told Pralle that he was experiencing chest pains. Pralle did not check his vitals, give him an electrocardiogram or give him regular insulin, even though plaintiff told her that he was at a high risk for a heart attack or stroke.

         On June 30, 2019, plaintiff checked his blood sugar level. Because it was high, plaintiff notified a correctional officer, who called Hentz, the on-call nurse. Hentz asked to speak with plaintiff over the telephone, but plaintiff refused to talk to her. Hentz did not give plaintiff regular insulin and told correctional staff that plaintiff would be ok until the next morning. When Hentz called plaintiff to the health services unit the next morning, plaintiff told him he was going to file a grievance. Hentz said to go ahead because it would not go anywhere. On July 8, 2019, plaintiff filed an inmate complaint, alleging that Hentz denied him insulin even though plaintiff's blood sugar level was high. Dougherty denied the complaint because plaintiff did not follow the chain of command.

         Although plaintiff has made a few other general allegations about some of the defendants not providing him adequate medical care for kidney pain and a broken wrist, I have not included them because they are not related to his diabetes and plaintiff does not say that he is attempting to bring a claim with respect to any of these issues.

         OPINION

         Plaintiff states that he that he is bringing Eighth Amendment claims against defendants for failing to provide him adequate medical care for his diabetes. A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment if the official acts with “deliberate indifference” to a “substantial risk of serious harm” to an inmate's health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). “Deliberate indifference” means that the officials are aware that the prisoner faced a substantial risk of serious harm or “‘excessive risk to [the prisoner's] health or safety, '” but disregard the risk by consciously failing to take reasonable measures to prevent it. Gevas v. McLaughlin, 798 F.3d 475, 480 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837); Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 266 (7th Cir. 1997). Inadvertent error, negligence, gross negligence and ordinary malpractice are not cruel and unusual punishment within the meaning of the Eighth Amendment. Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 992 (7th Cir. 1996).

         Thus, to state a claim that defendants violated the Eighth Amendment by denying him adequate medical care, plaintiff must allege facts that: (1) he had a serious medical need; (2) defendants knew that plaintiff needed medical treatment; and (3) defendants consciously failed to take reasonable measures to provide the necessary ...


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