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Parris Lewis Wall, Jr v. Rachael Rackovan

March 30, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caldwell


I. Introduction

Parris Lewis Wall, a pro se prisoner, filed this civil rights complaint against a sole defendant, Rachael Rackovan, a Physician's Assistant-Certified (PA) at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Institution (FCI-Allenwood), in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Wall asserts an Eighth Amendment challenge to the medical care, or rather lack there of, he received from PA Rackovan for thrush (oral condition caused by the fungus Candida albicans).*fn1

Doc. 1, Compl.

Rackovan has filed a motion for summary judgment. We will evaluate the motion under the well established standard. See Lawrence v. City of Philadelphia, 527 F.3d 299, 310 (3d Cir. 2008). The court will grant the motion.

II. Background

We take this background from the properly supported factual assertions in the parties' briefs and the evidentiary submissions.

Parris Lewis Wall, Jr., was incarcerated at FCI-Allenwood from October 28, 2008, through July 16, 2009. Doc. 24, Def.'s Statement of Material Facts (DSF) at ¶ 1. He was housed in the institution's SHU from February 25, 2009, until his transfer on July 16, 2009, to USP-Lewisburg. Id. at ¶ 2. Wall regularly uses a steroid inhaler to treat his asthma. Doc. 1, Compl. at p. 2; see also Doc. 23-2, Exs. in Supp. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at p. 23.*fn2

Wall, who resided in the SHU, awoke and groomed himself by 5:30 a.m. each day. Doc. 27, Wall's Resp. to Rackovan's Decl. at p. 2. Upon waking each day, he scrubbed his tongue with salt water. Id. He also scrubbed his tongue several times throughout the day because of white coating which would accumulate during the day. Id. at p. 3. He received breakfast, in his cell, any time between 6:00 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. each day. Id. at p. 2. According to Wall, PA Rackovan made her rounds in the SHU between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Id.

In late April 2009, Wall believed he developed thrush due to his use of his AdvairTM asthma medication, an orally inhaled steroid. Doc. 1 at p. 2. PA Rackovan was Wall's assigned PA at the time. Id. On April 20, 2009, he complained to Rackovan that he had a yeast infection in his mouth. DSF at ¶ 3. After examining his mouth, she found no evidence of lesions, growths, coatings or white areas. DSF at ¶ 4. Wall had already scrubbed his mouth prior to this encounter with Rackovan "so that was probably the reason she didn't notice" the infection Wall was complaining about. Doc. 1 at p. 2. Rackovan counseled Wall about rinsing his mouth with water after using his steroid inhaler. DSF at ¶ 6. Wall did not require treatment at that time. Id. at ¶ 5.

On April 22, 2009, Wall was seen by RN Sholder after complaining of chest pain. Id. at ¶ 7. During that visit, Wall did not complain about suffering from an infection or issues related to his mouth. Id. at ¶ 8. The following day, PA Rackovan spoke with Wall during sick rounds in the SHU. Id. at ¶ 9. He stated he was feeling much better and that the chest pain had gone away. He did not voice any other complaints. Id. at ¶ 10.

On May 29, 2009, and June 2, 2009, RN Shoemaker received Wall's sick call slips wherein he complained that he was suffering from an oral yeast infection and that he was not properly examined by PA Rackovan when he complained of this problem earlier. Id. at ¶ 11; Doc. 1 at pp. 9-10. It was noted that Wall was to see the doctor at the end of June. Doc. 24 at ¶ 12.

On June 19, 2009, while Rackovan was making rounds in the SHU, Wall requested a refill of his inhaler. She submitted the prescription for renewal. Id. at ¶ 13. The same day, Wall was examined by Dr. Miller during the pulmonary chronic care clinic. Id. at ¶ 14; Doc. 23-2 at p. 23. Dr. Miller noted that Wall's asthma "has been fairly controlled on advair but he gets some irritation in his mouth and has been treated in the past for thrush." Doc. 23-2 at p. 23. His mouth was examined for erythema, white plaques, dryness, fetid odor and other issues. Id. No positive results were noted. Doc. 24 at ¶ 16. Wall did not report being in any pain at the time of the exam and was instructed on rinsing his mouth out after using his inhaler. Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.

On June 24, 2009, PA Rackovan treated Wall for a small scratch or friction burn to his right thumb. Id. at ΒΆ 17. He did not complain about any infection or other issues ...

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