The opinion of the court was delivered by: Keith B. Quigley, Senior Judge
AND NOW, this 1st day of December, 2009, upon consideration of the Motion to Report Unreported Opinion said Motion is granted. It is hereby ordered that the opinion filed October 6, 2009 shall be designated OPINION rather than MEMORANDUM OPINION, and it shall be reported.
BEFORE: HONORABLE KEITH B. QUIGLEY, Senior Judge
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Corrections (Department) has filed a motion for preliminary injunction, seeking an order authorizing the Department to involuntarily treat Anthony Lindsey's (Mr. Lindsey) medical conditions. The Department seeks the preliminary injunction only if this Court concludes that Mr. Lindsey's First Amendment right to refuse medical treatment does not outweigh the Department's responsibility to provide adequate medical care for serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment and Estelle v. Gamble 429 U.S. 97 (1976). Because we conclude that Mr. Lindsey's right to refuse medical treatment does outweigh the Department's responsibility, we deny the preliminary injunction.
The facts, which appear to be undisputed, indicate that the inmate, Mr. Lindsey, suffers from a severe kidney ailment that requires periodic dialysis and other treatment. In addition, Mr. Lindsey has developed a gastrointestinal bleeding problem because of an aneurysm and fistula which can be corrected surgically.
Surgery will not be attempted unless hemoglobin levels in his blood, low because of the bleeding, can be raised significantly. This would be accomplished by pre-surgery blood transfusions.
It is the Court's understanding that surgery to address the aneurysm condition would likely alleviate that condition and would cause an improvement to his overall health. This would at least, in part, make the dialysis more effective and would also complement other treatment procedures, which ultimately could conceivably result in his receipt of a transplanted kidney, which could possibly result in a cure.
Nevertheless, under any circumstances, the Court is satisfied that Mr. Lindsey's prognosis with or without a blood transfusion and surgery is poor, but without said surgery very poor.
We are satisfied that the Department is prepared to render whatever treatment is medically necessary and appropriate and to do so promptly. That treatment could conceivably include a transplanted kidney if eligibility requirements for same are met. The fact that Mr. Lindsey is in the correctional system is not a factor in such a decision.
However, Mr. Lindsey does not wish to have the treatment for his aneurysm condition if a blood transfusion is necessary to facilitate same. This is because of Mr. Lindsey's religious belief that he should not receive a blood transfusion.
We are satisfied that Mr. Lindsey understands all of the implications of his decision to refuse treatment. We are further satisfied that his decision to decline treatment is knowing, intelligent and voluntary. Mr. Lindsey is sincere in his beliefs, knowledgeable in his request, and ...