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Ramirez v. Susquehanna Health System

May 5, 2009

DORIS RAMIREZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUSQUEHANNA HEALTH SYSTEM, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. McCLURE, Jr. United States District Judge

(Judge McClure)

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Doris Ramirez ("Plaintiff" or "Ramirez"), an inmate confined at the Cambridge Springs State Correctional Institution ("SCI Cambridge Springs") in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, initiated this pro se civil rights action by filing a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. She alleges that the medical staff at the Muncy State Correctional Institution ("SCI Muncy") was neglectful in their treatment of an infection in her leg. (Record document no. 1.) Ramirez also has filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Record document no. 6) and a motion to appoint counsel (Record document no. 11).

Based on the request to proceed in forma pauperis, the Complaint is before the Court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted. However, dismissal will be without prejudice, and Plaintiff will be granted twenty (20) days within which to file an amended complaint. Her motion to appoint counsel will be denied.

I. PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Background

Ramirez names as Defendants the Susquehanna Health System; the Muncy Valley Hospital; Dr. David Kahler, a physician at Muncy Valley Hospital; Muncy Prison; and Dr. Familio and Dr. Weisner, physicians at Muncy Prison. (Record document no. 1 at 1, 2.) In her Complaint, Ramirez makes the following allegations:

On November 17, 2007, while she was an inmate at SCI Muncy, Ramirez got a six inch splinter on her right leg from the picnic table at the prison yard. (Id. at 2 ¶ 1.) Six hours after she got the splinter, she was taken to the Muncy Valley Hospital Emergency Room to have it removed. (Id.) At the hospital, Defendant Kahler*fn1 cut Plaintiff's skin, removed about a three inch long portion of a splinter, and stated "there was nothing else in there." (Id.) Ramirez was taken back to the prison. (Id.)

A few days later, Plaintiff's leg became infected with cellulitis and she was placed in isolation for eight (8) days. (Id.) The infection was due to the remaining portion of splinter in her leg. (Id.) While Ramirez was in isolation, her leg was cut open a second time by Defendant Dr. Weisner in the SCI Muncy infirmary. (Id. ¶ 2.) Dr. Weisner checked the leg, and nothing came out; she then squeezed the leg, and still nothing came out. (Id.) Ramirez then was sent back to her Unit. (Id.)

A few days later, Plaintiff's leg again became infected. (Id.) At that time, Defendant Dr. Familio opened Plaintiff's wound in the SCI Muncy infirmary. (Id.) Dr. Familio inserted his gloved finger into the wound, but he did not find anything in there. (Id.) Therefore, Dr. Familio sent Plaintiff back to her Unit. (Id.)

On November 23, 2007 at approximately 11:48 a.m., Ramirez was again taken to Muncy Valley Hospital Emergency Room. (Id.) At that time, she was seen by "Dr./PA Beyer Mark." (Id. ¶ 3.) Because her infection was persistent, she was treated with antibiotics and sent back to SCI Muncy to continue her antibiotic treatment. (Id.) A month later, while Ramirez was working in the kitchen, "one piece came out." (Id.) She showed this piece to Mr. Wheeler, and she was sent to the medical department where Nurse Otty "squeezed out the rest and put a bandage on it." (Id.)

As relief, Ramirez requests that the Court compensate her for the neglect and mental anguish she suffered and for Dr. Familio's failure to grant her request for plastic surgery.*fn2 (Id. at 3.)

Standard of Review

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), a federal court must dismiss a case filed in forma pauperis if the court determines that the complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." The applicable standard of review for the failure to state a claim provision is the same as the standard for a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103 (3d Cir. 2002). Under that standard, a court must accept the truth of a plaintiff's factual allegations. Morrison v. Madison Dearborn Capital Partners III L.P., 463 F.3d 312, 314 (3d Cir. 2006). In ...


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