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McCarthy v. County of Bucks

October 28, 2010

KEVIN MCCARTHY, PLAINTIFF
v.
COUNTY OF BUCKS, ET AL. DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In March, 2006, Mr. McCarthy was a pre-trial detainee incarcerated at the Bucks County Correctional Facility. While incarcerated, Mr. McCarthy suffered from a wrist/arm abscess, which required surgical removal of the abscess, hospitalization, and resulted in "some degree of permanent pain and dysfunction."

Mr. McCarthy has filed a second amended complaint against the County of Bucks, Thomas French, Dr. Eleanor M. Travers, the Bucks County Health Department, and Dr. David Davis.*fn1 Dr. Travers and Bucks County filed a motion for summary judgment requesting judgment in their favor on Mr. McCarthy's claim that Bucks County and Dr. Travers violated 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983. The § 1983 claim is the only claim remaining against Dr. Travers and Bucks County. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant the motion.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Treatment Received at the Bucks County Correctional Facility On March 7, 2006, Kevin McCarthy arrived at the Bristol Township Police

Department to discuss a retail theft charge. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 5; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 5. Mr. McCarthy was taken into custody and Deputy Sheriff Thomas French transported Mr. McCarthy from the Bristol Township Police Department to the Bucks County Correctional Facility. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 12; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 9-12.

Mr. McCarthy was incarcerated at the Bucks County Correctional Facility from March 7, 2006 through March 17, 2006, when he was transported to Doylestown Hospital. At Doylestown Hospital he received treatment for an abscess and was hospitalized for ten days.*fn2

Dr. David Davis, a licensed medical doctor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is the medical director of the Bucks County Correctional Facility Dispensary. Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶¶ 115-116; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶¶ 115-116. The prison dispensary provides medical services for Bucks County Correctional Facility inmates. Id. at ¶ 127. Dr. Eleanor Travers was the director of the Bucks County Department of Health at the time of Mr. McCarthy's incarceration. Id. at ¶ 126. Dr. Travers oversaw the Department of Health staff "responsible for providing care in the Bucks County Correctional Facility." Id. at ¶ 128; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at Exh. qq.

B. Bucks County Correctional Facility's Policies

On November 11, 2003, the Accreditation Committee of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care voted to continue to accredit the Bucks County Correctional Facility for its compliance with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care Standards. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 95; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 95. The accreditation extended through October 2006. Id. at ¶ 96. On August 11, 2005, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections found the Bucks County Correctional Facility in compliance with Pennsylvania Code Title 37, Chapter 95. Id. at ¶ 97. This statute provides standards for county jails, including standards governing medical and health services. Id. at ¶ 98.

The Bucks County Department of Health promulgated policies for meeting the serious medical needs of prison inmates. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 99; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 99. Policy J-A-01 states "inmates have access to care to meet any medical, dental and mental health needs without any barriers." See Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at Exh. oo. Policy J-A-02 states "[t]he designated health authority for Bucks County Department of Corrections Medical Services is Bucks County Department of Health. The Department of Health oversees all levels of health care and assures quality, accessible and timely health services for inmates." Id. at Exh. pp. Policy J-A-05 requires an annual review of existing health care policies and procedures. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 102; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 102. Policy PA-11 provides a grievance mechanism for inmates. Id. at ¶ 103. Policy J-C-01 requires appropriate credentialing for health care personnel. Id. at ¶ 104. Policy J-C-04 provides for healthcare training for correction workers. Id. at ¶ 105. Policy J-C-06 prohibits inmates from being used as healthcare workers. Id. at ¶ 106. Policy J-E-01 requires Bucks County Correctional Facility inmates receive information on all health services. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at Exh. ff. Policy J-E-02 requires the screening of new inmates, including a visual inspection. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 108; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 108. Policy J-E-07 provides that inmates have an opportunity to request health care on a daily basis. Id. at ¶ 109. Policy J-E-08 provides for twenty-four hour emergency care. Id. at ¶ 110. Policy J-E-12 provides for continuity of care. Id. at ¶ 111. Policy J-G-03 provides for infirmary care and, when appropriate, placement at Doylestown Hospital. Id. at ¶ 112. Policy J-D-04 provides all diagnostic services available to the general population are available to inmates. Id. at ¶ 113. Policy J-E-04 requires a health assessment be performed on all inmates within fourteen days of incarceration. See Defendants' Statement of Facts at ¶ 114; Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at ¶ 114.

The Bucks County Correctional Department of Health Manual provides for two types of medical watch: regular and acute. See Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at Exh. yy. Regular watch requires that module officers observe the inmate every fifteen minutes, an inmate monitor observe the inmate every fifteen minutes, and both the officer and inmate monitor make entries on the inmate monitor form. Id. The inmate and officer are to stagger their observations. Id. Acute watch requires that the module officers observe the inmate every five minutes and record their findings and an inmate monitor is stationed outside the cell door to continuously observe the sick inmate. The inmate monitor will make entries on the inmate monitor form, but "the module officer remains responsible for maintaining the five (5) minute watch, and accuracy of the entries made at that time." Id. At different times during his incarceration, Mr. McCarthy was placed on regular and acute watch. Dr. Davis stated he did not review the notations made by inmate monitors. See Plaintiff's Statement of Facts at Q at 87.

II. STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled ...


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