The question presented on defendants' motion for summary judgment in this case is whether their alleged failure to provide proper medical treatment for plaintiff rises to the level of cruel and unusual punishment so as to be cognizable under the Civil Rights Act.
Plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed this Section 1983 action
against employees of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania, for violation of his constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment, and to due process and equal protection of the laws.
He seeks declaratory relief and damages of $100,000 from each defendant. The complaint and affidavits submitted by plaintiff thereafter allege, inter alia, that in August, 1973, while incarcerated at Graterford, plaintiff suffered a severe injury to his left knee while playing football
and that he was allowed to remain for three days without treatment despite constant complaints to a correctional officer, Sergeant Eugene Wilfong. The complaint further asserts that both Mr. Donald McMonagle, the prison hospital administrative officer, and Dr. Calvin English, a prison doctor, were aware of plaintiff's condition but took no action to relieve the pain and weakness in his knee; both refused plaintiff's requests to be taken to Pottstown Hospital for x-rays; an arthrogram was performed on August 30, 1974;
on September 28, 1974, Dr. Menkowitz, an orthopedic surgeon, recommended surgery; and as of the date of filing the complaint, February 3, 1975, plaintiff had not received corrective surgery and is still suffering from the injury. Plaintiff's affidavit of June 13, 1975, further refines the complaint. It states that he was scheduled for surgery on October 26, 1974, but was unable to undergo it because he was confined in the prison's Behavior Adjustment Unit; that he saw Dr. Menkowitz again in November, 1974, at which time he was promised knee braces and physical therapy; that he has not received any treatment or surgery; and that he continues to suffer pain and difficulty of movement in his knee.
After a careful examination of the entire record in this matter, I conclude that for purposes of the motion for summary judgment the events which occurred prior to August 27, 1973, -- the date plaintiff was first seen by prison medical personnel -- must be separated from those which occurred after that date.
I. Post-August 27, 1973 Occurrences.
In connection with their motion for summary judgment, the defendants have produced plaintiff's complete medical record at Graterford. Plaintiff alleged that his injury occurred in late August, 1973, and his complaint admits that he was treated within three days, receiving an Ace bandage and some pain pills. The medical records show that between August 27, 1973, and December 20, 1974, shortly before his transfer to Dallas, n5 plaintiff was seen by various doctors relative to his knee injury on at least eleven occasions. n6 In chronological order, these records reflect the following:
August 27, 1973 plaintiff sent to the hospital
relative to his leg.
September 13, 1973 plaintiff referred to orthopedic
November 3, 1973 plaintiff seen by Dr. English;
plaintiff's injury diagnosed as
positive torn meniscus; determin-
ation made that plaintiff's knee
should be x-rayed.
November 9, 1973 plaintiff seen by Dr. Winter;
plaintiff's x-rays read; diagnosis
of ununited epiphysis of the tibia
tubercle which probably represents
old, inactive osteochondrosis and
minimal degenerative arthritis of
the margins of the inner conydylar
February 3, 1974 knee pain persists; plaintiff given
February 6, 1974 plaintiff seen by Dr. Katz; recom-
mendation of flexible appliances
on trial basis to reduce posterior
muscle strain; patient should be
followed by orthopedic surgeon.
March 9, 1974 plaintiff seen by Dr. Menkowitz;
arrangements made for arthrogram.
June 24, 1974 plaintiff seen by Dr. English;
knee still symptomatic; doctor will check
on status of arthrogram.
September 7, 1974 plaintiff seen by Dr. English;
arthrogram completed but no re-
sults available; arrangements to be
made to have plaintiff discuss re-
sults with Dr. Menkowitz.
September 28, 1974 plaintiff seen by Dr. Menkowitz;
arthrogram results discussed with
patient; surgery recommended.
October 26, 1974 plaintiff refused surgery and
failed to show up to see Dr.
October 27, 1974 plaintiff wants surgery only in
December 20, 1974 knee brace previously ordered
referred to McMonagle as not re-
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.