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ROBINSON v. SHANNON

September 30, 2005.

HAKEIM ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT SHANNON, ET AL., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS VANASKIE, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

Hakeim Robinson filed this pro se civil rights action on December 22, 2004, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He is currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Frackville (SCI-Frackville), Pennsylvania. Named as Defendants are Robert Shannon, Superintendent at SCI-Frackville, and the following SCI-Frackville medical personnel: Barbara G. Malewski, Chief Health Care Administrator; Dr. Scott Sterling, D.O.; and Joan Gibbons, R.N.

  On February 3, 2005, an Order was issued directing service of the complaint and denying a motion for the appointment of counsel which had previously been filed by Plaintiff. (Dkt. Entry 8.) Presently pending are motions to dismiss filed by Dr. Sterling (Dkt. Entry 10) and Defendants Shannon, Malewski and Gibbons (Dkt. Entry 26). Also pending is a second motion for appointment of counsel (Dkt. Entry 16), and a motion to amend the complaint. (Dkt. Entry 29.) For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motions for counsel and to amend will be denied, and the motions to dismiss will be granted.

  II. BACKGROUND

  In his complaint Robinson states that he injured his ankle at SCI-Frackville in August of 2004. He went to the prison infirmary and was told by Defendant Gibbons, a registered nurse, that his ankle was sprained. Gibbons then provided Robinson with an ice pack, Motrin and an ace bandage. Robinson claims that he was not offered crutches or an x-ray to determine the extent of his injuries, even though he had to hop "over 100 yards outside to get to medical." (Dkt. Entry 1, Compl. at 3.)

  On August 16, 2004, Robinson again signed up for sick call because he noticed no difference in the pain or swelling of his ankle. He requested crutches and that an x-ray be performed, but only received a cane on that date. He claims that the cane was useless. He acknowledges that an x-ray was performed four (4) days later on August 20, 2004.

  Several weeks later Robinson signed up for sick call because he had not heard the results of the x-ray taken on August 20, 2004. He was seen by Ms. Ellsworth, a physician's assistant, who did not know what was wrong with his ankle. At that time Robinson received a prescription for Motrin, which he had been previously given for pain associated with the prior amputation of two toes on his left foot.

  The following week, a second x-ray of his ankle was taken. A few weeks later, he again signed up for sick call to inquire as to the x-ray results.

  Robinson alleges that he did not receive the correct diagnosis of his ankle injury until he saw Dr. Sterling on October 18, 2004, who informed him that his ankle had been fractured. Sterling noted the swelling and discoloration, and referred to the injury as an "old fracture." (Id. at 4.)

  Robinson contends that Defendant Shannon was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs because he was aware of the deficient and inadequate health care the medical department provides to inmates. He claims that Nurse Gibbons was deliberately indifferent in that she mis-diagnosed his condition as a sprain, and failed to order an x-ray and crutches. He also contends that he should have seen a doctor before his visit with Defendant Sterling on October 18, 2004. He further claims that the "professional assessment was well below marginal expectancy" when Defendant Gibbons mis-diagnosed his condition as a sprain, and then Defendant Sterling stated that it was best to allow the fractured portion of the bone to dissolve. (Dkt. Entry 1, Compl. at 5.) As relief Robinson requests compensatory damages.

  III. DISCUSSION

  A. Motion for appointment of counsel

  On March 16, 2005, Robinson filed his second motion seeking the appointment of counsel. (Dkt. Entry 16.) In the pending motion Robinson reiterates the grounds for the appointment of counsel presented in his initial motion: his inability to afford/obtain counsel, the limitations prison imposes upon his ability to litigate the case and the complexity of the issues involved. Robinson has responded to the motion to dismiss in a comprehensible manner. As explained below, the averments of the Complaint reflect a disagreement as to the level of ...


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