United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
November 28, 2005.
TYRONE GLENN, Plaintiff,
JOSEPH MATALONI, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: YVETTE KANE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff Tyrone Glenn, an inmate at the State Correctional
Institution at Retreat, Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania, filed this
action on September 26, 2005, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc.
1). The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, (the "Act"),
obligates the court to engage in a screening process when a
prisoner wishes to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915, as is the case here. (Doc. 5). Specifically, §
1915(e)(2), which was created by § 805(a)(5) of the Act provides:
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion
thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines
that (A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B)
the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
The complaint has been screened in accordance with the above,
and, for the following reasons, the action will be dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
I. Factual Background.
Named as defendants are Joseph Mataloni, Health Care
Administrator, Dr. Renato Diaz, and Physician's Assistant Larisa
Yarczower. Glenn alleges that these defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his medical condition and that he has suffered
pain and mental anguish as a result of their conduct.
Glenn alleges that he reported to sick call on August 2, 2004,
to report that he was suffering from a "parasitic worm-like
creature squirming around inside [his] anal cavity that had
mandibles." (Doc. 1, p. 2). Defendants Yarczower and Diaz
concluded that Glenn had hemorrhoids. Over the course of the next
few days, he was prescribed a laxative, prescribed creams, was
directed to give a stool sample and had blood work done. On
August 7, 2004, Glenn was informed that the tests did not show
any sign of a parasite.
Because Glenn was convinced that he had a parasite living in
his anal cavity, he filed a grievance. His grievance was denied
at every administrative level. While pursuing his administrative
remedies, he continued to seek medical treatment so as to obtain
"the proper diagnosis and treatment." He was assured by Defendant
Mataloni that the "logical steps" would be taken to discern the
source of his pain and discomfort. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Out of concern for Glenn, Glenn's brother-in-law, Mr. Green,
contacted the Department of Corrections and spoke with the
Assistant Medical Director, Dr. Scharff. Dr. Scharff reviewed
Glenn's medical file and on June 9, 2005, wrote to Glenn
explaining the following:
I understood Mr. Green to say you were experiencing
persistent anal pain over a prolonged period; such
pain can be the result of an anal fissure (a sort of
tear), and I wished to be sure the anus had been
examined. Anal fissure does not cause the sort of
sensation you are describing. It can be caused by
pinworm, an intestinal parasite which lives in the
colon but migrates to the anus to lay eggs,
particularly at night. Hemorrhoids can also cause
sensations like those you have described. The
diagnosis of hemorrhoids can be made on inspection,
but the diagnosis of pinworm usually requires that
the anal area be blotted with cellophane tape to pick
up the eggs, which can then be seen under a
microscope. Other parasites are diagnosed by
microscopic examination of the stool. Colonoscopy is
not used for diagnosing intestinal parasites. The
cellophane tape examination was done in August and
was negative. There have also been several negative
stool examinations for ova and parasites. It is thus
unlikely that your symptom is caused by an intestinal
worm or parasite. Doc. 1, Exhibit J). Glenn contends that he is being deprived of
proper medical care and that his "condition requires significant
and continuous medication and causes excruciating pain every time
the parasite repositions itself." (Doc. 1, p. 6). He states that
"defendants prevented [him] from receiving adequate medical
diagnosis and treatment and denied access to a physician capable
of evaluating plaintiff's needs." (Id.)
II. Standard of Review.
In considering the complaint under this provision, the Court is
guided by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) which allows
for dismissal of a claim or claims for "failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. . . ." In evaluating whether a
claim is subject to dismissal, the court must accept all material
allegations of the complaint as true and construe all inferences
in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff. Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). A complaint will not be
dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond a
doubt that "no relief could be granted under any set of facts
that could be proved consistent with the allegations.
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002). A
complaint that sets out facts which affirmatively demonstrate
that the Plaintiff has no right to recover is properly dismissed
without leave to amend. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107-108
"In determining whether a claim should be dismissed under Rule
12(b)(6), a court looks only to the facts alleged in the
complaint and its attachments without reference to other parts of
the record." Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel,
20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994). The court, however, need not
accept "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower
Merion School District, 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). III. Discussion.
"A prison official's `deliberate indifference' to a substantial
risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the Eighth Amendment."
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 827 (1994) citing Helling
v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25 (1993); Wilson v. Seiter,
501 U.S. 294 (1991); Estelle, 429 U.S. 97. An inadequate medical care
claim, as is presented here, requires allegations that the prison
official acted with "deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs" of the plaintiff, while a prisoner. Estelle,
429 U.S. at 104; Unterberg v. Correctional Medical Systems, Inc.,
799 F. Supp. 490, 494-95 (E.D. Pa. 1992). The official must know of and
disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or safety. Farmer,
511 U.S. at 837. "[T]he official must both be aware of facts from
which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference." Id.
"The question . . . is whether prison officials, acting with
deliberate indifference, exposed a prisoner to a sufficiently
substantial `risk of serious damage to his future health.'"
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 843. This test "affords considerable
latitude to prison medical authorities in the diagnosis and
treatment of the medical problems of inmate patients. Courts will
`disavow any attempt to second guess the propriety or adequacy of
a particular course of treatment . . . which remains a question
of sound professional judgment.'" Little v. Lycoming County,
912 F.Supp. 809, 815 (M.D. Pa) aff'd, 103 F.3d 691 (1996)
citing Inmates of Allegheny County Jail v. Pierce,
612 F.2d 754, 762 (3d Cir. 1979), quoting Bowring v. Godwin,
551 F.2d 44, 48 (4th Cir. 1977).
Furthermore, a complaint that a physician or a medical
department "has been negligent in diagnosing or treating a
medical condition does not state a valid claim of medical
mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment . . ." Estelle,
429 U.S. at 106. More than a decade ago, the Third Circuit ruled that
"while the distinction between deliberate indifference and
malpractice can be subtle, it is well established that as long as a physician exercises
professional judgment his behavior will not violate a prisoner's
constitutional rights." Brown v. Borough of Chambersburg,
903 F.2d 274, 278 (3d Cir. 1990). "A medical decision not to order an
X-ray, or like measures, does not represent cruel and unusual
punishment. At most it is medical malpractice." Estelle,
429 U.S. at 107.
Where an inmate is provided with medical care and the dispute
is over the adequacy of that care, an Eighth Amendment claim does
not exist. Nottingham v. Peoria, 709 F.Supp.542, 547 (M.D.Pa.
1988). Disagreement among individuals as to the proper medical
treatment does not support an Eighth Amendment claim. Monmouth
County Correctional Inst. Inmates v. Lensario, 834 F.2d 326, 346
(3d Cir. 1987). Only flagrantly egregious acts or omissions can
violate the standard. Mere medical malpractice cannot result in
an Eighth Amendment violation, nor can any disagreements over the
professional judgment of a health care provider. White v.
Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 108-10 (3d Cir. 1990).
Throughout the time period in question, Glenn was seen by
physician's assistants and examined by a physician and other
medical personnel on numerous occasions. Blood work was done on
more than one occasion, stool samples were elicited and examined,
and the cellophane tape test was performed. In addition, Glenn
was prescribed medication and creams in an effort to make him
more comfortable. He is convinced that he is suffering from a
condition involving a parasitic worm. None of the tests performed
indicate that this is Glenn's problem Despite all of the medical
intervention, defendants have not been able to resolve Glenn's
condition to his satisfaction. This is clearly a case where the
Plaintiff has been given significant medical attention and is
simply dissatisfied with the results. Consequently, Glenn's
complaint is subject to dismissal pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) as he fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. IV. Order.
AND NOW, this 28th day of November 2005, IT IS HEREBY
1. Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis (Doc. 5) is GRANTED.
2. Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
3. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this
4. Any appeal from this order will be deemed
frivolous, lacking in probable cause, and not taken
in good faith.
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