United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, JUDGE.
Craig Boston, a pro se inmate, sued Prime Care
Medical, Inc., Doctor Victoria Gessner, Supervising Nurses
Jessica Thomas and Alynn Zernhelt, and Nurses Pam Whittaker
and Jennifer Sariego for negligence and allegedly providing
inadequate medical care in violation of his rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the United States
Constitution. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss
which the Court grants, though Boston will be allowed to
amend his Complaint consistent with this Memorandum.
is an inmate at Bucks County Correctional Facility
(“BCCF”). (Compl. at 1, ECF No. 1.) He claims
that while incarcerated, he lost his job in the prison and
began a self-imposed hunger strike on September 21, 2017.
(Id. at 2.) He alleges that medical personnel at
BCCF refused to monitor his body mass index or vital signs,
despite having been informed that he was not eating.
(Id.) Boston claims that he was found unresponsive
on his cell floor on September 27 and that medical personnel
resuscitated him. (Id. at 2-3.) After regaining
consciousness, Boston claims that he was unable to move and
had difficulty breathing. (Id.) Emergency medical
technicians were called, but Boston alleges that Nurse Thomas
withheld information from the technicians. (Id.)
Boston does not specify what information Thomas withheld, but
alleges she did so to cover up her failings as a supervisor
to ensure that inmates receive adequate medical treatment.
October 9, 2017, Boston claims that he had not eaten for
twenty days, despite having received medical attention
thirteen days prior. (Id.) After complaining to a
corrections officer that he had thrown up bile, was unable to
swallow Tylenol and that he had a migraine, Boston was taken
to the medical unit at BCCF. (Id.) Once there, he
explained to Nurse Whittaker that he could not swallow, but
claims that she began questioning him about the Tylenol that
had not been prescribed. (Id. at 3-4.) Boston
alleges that Whittaker sent him back to his cell despite
having a high heart rate and blood pressure, and without
examining or addressing his inability to swallow.
following day, Boston submitted a medical request slip to the
BCCF warden complaining about his recent experiences with the
prison's medical staff. Boston contends the warden
responded on October 11, but claims that Thomas withheld
information from the warden and omitted information from his
medical records. (Id.) He does not specify what
information was withheld or omitted.
November 9, Boston was removed from his cell and moved to the
restricted housing unit. (Compl. Attach. Claim at 1, ECF No. 3.)
After being moved, Boston alleges he began coughing up blood
and was escorted to the medical unit. (Id.) Once
there, Boston complained of pain in his ribs because the
officers that removed him from his cell allegedly kicked and
kneed him in his torso. (Id.) After his vital signs
were taken, he was sent back to his cell. Later that day,
medical personnel were called to Boston's cell because he
was again coughing up blood. (Id.) Thomas checked on
Boston but determined that he did not need to go to the
hospital and could instead see a physician assistant the next
day. (Id.) He was not examined by a physician
assistant or doctor the following day, but after writing a
medical request slip complaint, was scheduled for an
appointment the following week. (Id. at 2.)
November 15, Boston was taken to the medical unit where a
physician assistant took his vital signs and answered his
questions. (Id.) Boston alleges the physician
assistant told Doctor Gessner about the pain he was
experiencing in his ribs, but rather than ordering an X-ray,
Gessner responded “There won't be an X-ray, his
oxgen [sic] is fine, and even if his ribs are cracked we
can't do anything.” (Id.)
claims the Defendants denied him adequate medical care and
that he experienced physical and emotional pain, but does not
allege that he suffered any physical injury as a result of
the Defendants' purportedly inadequate medical treatment.
(Compl. ¶¶ 6, 12; Compl. Attach. Claim at 1-2.)
Boston filed his complaint pro se, the Court
“must liberally construe his pleadings.”
Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir.
2003) (citation omitted). “Courts are to construe
complaints so ‘as to do substantial justice, '
keeping in mind that pro se complaints in particular
should be construed liberally.” Bush v. City of
Phila., 367 F.Supp. 722, 725 (E.D. Pa. 2005) (quoting
Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 234 (3d Cir. 2004)).
Moreover, in a § 1983 action, the Court must
“apply the applicable law, irrespective of whether a
pro se litigant has mentioned it by name.”
Higgins v. Beyer, 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d Cir. 2002)
(quoting Holley v. Dep't of Veteran Affairs, 165
F.3d 244, 247-48 (3d Cir. 1999)); see also Nami v.
Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996) (“Since this
is a § 1983 action, the [pro se] plaintiffs are
entitled to relief if their complaint sufficiently alleges
deprivation of any right secured by the Constitution.”