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Ramos v. Prime Care Medical

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 9, 2019

JOSEPH RAMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
PRIME CARE MEDICAL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          C. Darnell Jones, II J.

         Plaintiff Joseph Ramos, a prisoner incarcerated at SCI Phoenix, brings this pro se civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against medical staff and medical providers at Northampton County Prison, SCI Phoenix, and SCI Rockview. He seeks to proceed in forma pauperis. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Ramos leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismiss with prejudice his Due Process claim, dismiss without prejudice his claims against Prime Care Medical, Correct Care Solutions, and individual Defendants Kenneth Wloczewski and “O'Neill, ” and permit him to proceed on an Eighth Amendment claim against the remaining individually-named Defendants.

         I. FACTS

         Ramos's Complaint raises Eighth Amendment and Due Process claims based on allegations that, on September 5, 2017, while playing handball at Northampton County Prison, he slipped and broke his foot and was subsequently denied proper medical care for this injury. He names as Defendants Prime Care Medical and the following employees of Prime Care Medical working at Northampton County Prison: Pauline Foley (nurse), Kenneth Wloczewski (doctor), and Jane Does 1 and 2 (nurses); Correct Care Solutions and the following employees of Correct Care Solutions working at SCI Phoenix: Dawn Albright (nurse), “Hanuschak” (doctor), “O'Neill” (nurse), and John Doe (doctor); and the following medical personnel employed at SCI Rockview: Lisa Campbell (nurse), “Hans, ” Jamie Fick (nurse), Vernon Preston (doctor), and Jane Doe 3 (nurse). (ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 3-16.) Ramos sued the individual defendants in their individual capacities, and sued Prime Care Medical and Correct Care Solutions in their official capacities. He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

         Ramos alleges that, while at Northampton County Prison, he injured his right foot and requested that Defendants John Doe and Jane Doe 1 call for medical attention for him, but that they did not do so. (Id. at ¶¶ 19, 22-23, 25-28.) On September 22, 2017, Ramos's foot was x-rayed, and on September 25, 2017, Defendant Foley informed Ramos that his foot was broken and that he would need to see an outside orthopedic doctor; she did not provide crutches or a protective boot. (Id. at ¶¶ 31-33.) On September 27, 2017, Ramos was transferred to SCI Graterford. (Id. at ¶ 35.) Ramos alleges that he was not examined to determine whether he was suitable for travel, that Sheriffs were not informed that his foot was broken, and that his medical records and x-ray were not forwarded to SCI Graterford. (Id. at ¶¶ 36-38.)

         Upon arrival at SCI Graterford, Ramos advised Jane Doe 2 that he had fractured his right foot at Northampton County Prison. (Id. at ¶¶ 39-40.) Ramos was referred to Defendant Albright, who told him his records did not reflect a broken foot. (Id. at ¶¶ 41, 43.) Ramos's foot was again x-rayed; Defendant Hanuschak read the x-ray, determined that Ramos's foot was broken, and prescribed pain medication, but no crutches or protective boot. (Id. at ¶¶ 44-45.) On numerous occasions between September 27, 2017 and October 10, 2017, Ramos requested that Defendant Correct Care Solutions provide crutches and a protective boot, but neither were immediately provided. (Id. at ¶¶ 47, 56.) On October 12, 2017, Ramos was transferred to SCI Rockview; he was not evaluated for suitability for travel before he left. (Id. at ¶¶ 48-49.)

         Upon arrival at SCI Rockview, Ramos advised Defendant Jane Doe 2[1] that his right foot was broken and that he had been walking on it for eight weeks without any treatment. (Id. at ¶ 50.) Defendant Jane Doe 2 allegedly disregarded Ramos's statements and released him to the general population with no crutches or protective boot. (Id. at ¶ 51.) On October 15, 17, and 18, 2017, Ramos sent request slips for medical treatment and follow-up; Defendant Campbell responded that Ramos should sign up for sick call. (Id. at ¶ 52.) On October 31 and November 12, 2017, Ramos sent request slips to Defendant Fick asking whether SCI Rockview had obtained his records from Northampton County Prison, but Defendant Fick did not respond to the requests. (Id. at ¶ 53.)

         In November 2017, Ramos was examined by an outside orthopedic specialist and another x-ray of his foot was taken. (Id. at ¶ 54.) The orthopedic specialist told Ramos to return in three weeks for follow-up, and stated that surgery would be required if his foot did not show signs of healing in that time. (Id. at ¶ 55.) On November 22, 2017, an x-ray of Ramos's foot was taken in the SCI Rockview medical department. (Id. at ¶ 57.) Ramos advised Defendant Hans that his discharge from the outside orthopedic specialist specified a return to that doctor for follow-up and requested that Hans review the discharge summary. (Id. at ¶ 58.)

         On November 28, 2017, Ramos sent a request slip inquiring about his three-week follow-up with the outside orthopedic specialist; on December 8, 2017, Defendant Preston responded that Ramos would be seen by a PA. (Id. at ¶¶ 59-60.) On December 12, 2017, Ramos sent a request slip complaining that his foot was not healing, that he was in pain, and that he had not been sent for follow-up care; Defendant Campbell responded that Ramos did not need surgery and should sign up for sick call to be re-evaluated. (Id. at ¶¶ 61-62.) On December 18, 2017, Ramos sent a request slip complaining that his foot was not healing, that he was in pain, was still on crutches[2], and that he needed surgery; he received no response. (Id. at ¶ 63.)

         On January 5, 2018, Ramos was seen by Defendant Hans and told he would be scheduled for a final exam and x-ray; this never took place, despite two further requests by Ramos. (Id. at ¶¶ 64-66.) Ramos alleges he is still in pain, has difficulty walking, has never been re-examined, and has never been provided with physical therapy. (Id. at ¶¶ 67-69.)

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court will grant Ramos leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action.[3] Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). As Ramos is proceeding pro se, the Court must construe his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Due ...


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