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Norris v. Lynch

June 10, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo


Plaintiff Leon Norris ("Norris"), an inmate currently confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey ("FCI-Fort Dix"), commenced this action pro se by filing a civil rights complaint pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on May 18, 2007, as amended, May 11, 2009. (Doc. 52.) Norris names the following Defendants: the County of Lycoming; David Desmond, Warden of Lycoming County Prison in Williamsport, Pennsylvania ("LCP"); Catherine Lynch, a nurse employed by LCP; and Medical Staff Member Doe, identified by Defendants as Cheryl Schrum, (see Doc. 56 ¶ 43), a nurse employed by LCP. Norris alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs while he was incarcerated at LCP.

Before the court is a motion for summary judgment, filed on behalf of Defendants. (Doc. 55.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.

I. Background

A. Facts

In support of their motion for summary judgment, Defendants have submitted a statement of material facts. (Doc. 56.) Norris has not submitted a counter-statement of material facts as required by M.D. Pa. Local Rule 56.1. As such, all facts set forth in Defendants' statement of undisputed material facts (Doc. 56) are deemed admitted. See M.D. Pa. Local Rule 56.1.*fn1 Those facts are as follows.

Norris was incarcerated at LCP from January 5 through June 1, 2005. (Doc. 56 ¶ 2.) In 2005, medical clinics were held at LCP every Monday and Thursday evenings and were staffed by various local contracted physicians. (Id. ¶ 3.) During a medical screening on January 12, 2005, Norris reported no bowel or intestinal problems. (Id. ¶ 5.)

On March 10, 2005, Norris' previous medical records were provided to LCP's nursing staff by Susquehanna Health System. (Id. ¶ 6.) These records indicated that Norris had a colonoscopy performed in 2002 that revealed a tiny polyp and showed no ulcerative colitis and was otherwise normal. (Id.)

On March 24, 2005, Norris discussed his bowel concerns with Dr. Anderson, a licensed physician contracted by LCP. (Id. ¶ 7.) Dr. Anderson examined Norris and noted that he had a long history of bowel problems. (Id.) However, Norris previously had a sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy which both indicated "Crohn's and IBS ruled out." (Id.) Dr. Anderson prescribed Metamucil, as needed, and noted in her file that if Norris did not improve, a gastroenterologist ("GI") consult should be considered. (Id.)

On April 4, 2005, Norris had a follow up appointment with Dr. Anderson, but refused a rectal exam/anoscopy, and was referred to a GI for evaluation. (Id. ¶ 8.) On April 5, 2005, an appointment with Susquehanna Gastroenterology Associates was scheduled for April 20, 2005. (Id. ¶ 9.) Norris attended that appointment, and returned to LCP with orders that the office would contact the nurses as LCP if they needed to schedule a colonoscopy. (Id. ¶ 10.)

On April 21, 2005, a small bowel series was scheduled for April 24, 2005 for Norris. (Id. ¶ 11.) That small bowel series was performed on that date at the Williamsport Hospital. (Id. ¶ 12.) The results of the tests were faxed to LCP on May 17, 2005. (Id. ¶ 13.) Those results, set forth on the Radiology Result Document, indicated no pathologic abnormality. (Id. ¶ 14.)

On April 25, 2005, Norris was examined by a contracted physician at LCP and diagnosed with folliculitis. (Id. ¶ 15.) On May 9, 2005, he was examined by a contracted physician after complaining of a sore throat, ear ache, and sinus drainage. (Id. ¶ 16.) The physician diagnosed him with sinusitis, pharyngitis, sinus congestion, and mouth ulcers. (Id.)

On May 15, 2005, Norris complained of a fever, dizziness, and chills, that he had lost sixteen pounds in two weeks, and that he continued to suffer from canker sores in his mouth. (Id. ¶ 17.) Defendant Lynch, a licensed practical nurse,*fn2 examined him on that date, and found Norris to have a fever, that he had lost sixteen pounds, and that he had canker sores in his mouth. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 42.) Defendant Lynch determined that Norris was not in immediate distress, but noted that he should be seen by a "MD." (Id.)

Following Defendant Lynch's May 15, 2005 examination, she placed Norris on the Clinic List to see the doctor at the next doctor clinic night, scheduled for May 16, 2005. (Id. ¶ 19.) During that doctor clinic, Dr. Timco examined Norris and noted that he had chills, canker sores, weight loss, and some folliculitis. (Id. ¶ 20.) Dr. Timco made a notation in the medical progress notes to "get SBFT [small bowel series] results."*fn3 (Id.) Further, Dr. Timco diagnosed Norris with irritable bowel syndrome, placed him on a bland diet, and ordered milk at every meal. (Id.)

The results from the small bowel series were received by the LCP medical staff by fax from the Williamsport Hospital on May 17, 2005. (Id. ¶ 22.) Norris was seen at LCP by a Dr. Schlict that same day, who, after reviewing Norris' symptoms, ordered that he be taken to the Williamsport Hospital Emergency Room for evaluation. (Id. ¶ 23.) As a result, Norris checked into the Williamsport Hospital Emergency Room at 6:58 p.m. on May 17, 2005. (Id. ¶ 24.) His chief complaints while there were of chills, canker sores, and weight loss. (Id. ¶ 25.) An Emergency Room physician examined Norris and, after blood tests were taken, prescribed an IV of normal saline solution and no additional treatment or medication. (Id. ¶ 26.)

Thereafter, Norris was discharged from the Emergency Room at 11:35 p.m. on May 17, 2005, in stable condition and in no distress. (Id. ¶ 27.) At the time of his discharge, Norris was prescribed with "magic mouthwash" only. (Id. ¶ 28.)

On May 18, 2005, upon Norris' return from the emergency room, an LCP medical staff member contacted Dr. Keenan to inform him of Norris' condition; that he had been seen at the emergency room the previous evening; and that he had been prescribed "magic mouthwash" to treat his mouth ulcers. (Id. ¶ 29.)

On May 22, 2005, Norris complained to Defendant Lynch that he was not breathing properly, not sleeping, not eating, and had nasal congestion. (Id. ¶ 30.) Defendant Lynch noted that Norris was still suffering from prominent ulcers on his lips, inner cheeks and throat. (Id. ¶ 31.) After examining and evaluating Norris' vital signs, Defendant Lynch ...

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