MEDICAL TREATMENT CLAIMS
Defendants argue that plaintiff's claims concerning the medical treatment she received at the Haverford State Hospital are solely claims of medical malpractice and, therefore, fail to state valid claims upon which relief can be granted under the civil rights act. Although claims of mere negligent medical treatment are not cognizable under the civil rights act, Gittlemacker v. Prasse, 428 F.2d 1, 5-6 (3d Cir. 1970); Church v. Hegstrom, 416 F.2d 449, 450-451 (2d Cir. 1969), the deliberate denial of necessary medical treatment to a person held in state custody is actionable. Martinez v. Mancusi, 443 F.2d 921, 923-925 (2d Cir. 1970); Newsome v. Sielaff, 375 F. Supp. 1189, 1193 (E.D. Pa. 1974); United States ex rel. Ingram v. Montgomery County Prison Board, 369 F. Supp. 873, 874-875 (E.D. Pa. 1974).
In the instant case, plaintiff alleges that throughout her confinement at the Haverford State Hospital, she was repeatedly denied prescribed medication for a known heart ailment and was repeatedly denied medical attention despite numerous requests and complaints of chest pains and other heart attack symptoms. It is further alleged that on the evening of December 12, 1972, plaintiff informed certain staff members that she was having a heart attack and requested treatment and medication. These requests were refused. The following morning plaintiff was found gasping for air and suffering a pulmonary embolism. Later that day, December 13, 1972, plaintiff was taken to Lankenau Hospital where she remained in the intensive care unit for five days.
These allegations are not, as defendants contend, solely claims of negligent medical treatment. Plaintiff has alleged the repeated denial of medical treatment and these allegations, which are accepted as true for purposes of this motion, state valid claims upon which relief may be granted under the civil rights act. The motion to dismiss these claims must, therefore, be denied.
In her complaint, plaintiff has also alleged a cause of action for medical malpractice under state law. It is unclear, however, whether plaintiff is relying on the same facts to support this claim as were stated in support of the denial of medical treatment claim or whether further acts of the defendants are involved. Until the plaintiff more precisely defines the specific factual basis for her medical malpractice claim, any decision as to possible pendent jurisdiction over the state claim must be deferred.
Defendants finally contend that they are immune from damage liability in this case because all of the actions purportedly taken by them were discretionary in nature and were performed in their governmental capacities. No affidavits or other documentation have been submitted by defendants in support of this contention. The present record is devoid of any information setting forth the exact nature of the defendants' respective positions and the scope of their authority. It has been repeatedly affirmed that it is error for the district courts to decide a claim of governmental immunity before the above facts have been fully presented and developed in the record. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 249-250, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974); Fidtler v. Rundle, 497 F.2d 794, 801-802 (3d Cir. 1974); Safeguard Mutual Insurance Co. v. Miller, 472 F.2d 732, 733-734 (3d Cir. 1973); Lasher v. Shafer, 460 F.2d 343, 348 (3d Cir. 1972). The present record is entirely insufficient to support a finding of governmental immunity and the motion to dismiss on the basis of immunity must therefore be denied.
O R D E R
AND NOW, this 28th day of February, 1975, the motion of the defendants to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint is DENIED and DISMISSED.
BY THE COURT:
Donald W. VanArtsdalen