Court Finds No Deliberate Indifference In Delaying Inmate’s Forearm Surgery

February 6, 2018

Judge Eric I. Long in the Central District of Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of the former Sheriff and correctional staff at the County jail in Herndon v. Bukowski, et al. Case No. 16-CV-2148 (C.D. Ill. Jan. 26, 2018). Plaintiff Cauirece Herndon, a pre-trial detainee, alleged that medical staff and administration were deliberately indifferent to his pre-existing arm injury. Plaintiff Herndon had been attacked months beforehand with a large knife or machete, suffering damage to his right forearm that required multiple surgeries with appropriate healing time between them. He underwent one complex repair surgery and was scheduled for the second when he was arrested on drug conspiracy charges. Plaintiff did not alert jail medical staff until after the surgery date had already passed that he had been scheduled for surgery and missed the appointment. Plaintiff did not provide the name of his surgeon, but provided the name of the hospital, and the jail medical staff attempted to obtain his medical records. It took over four months to receive the medical records from the treating surgeon. Once they were provided with the records, a nurse inquired as to the necessity of the second arm surgery, and was informed that the surgery could wait until Plaintiff was no longer incarcerated. The medical staff continued to treat Plaintiff with medication and was referred to physical and occupational therapy. However, Plaintiff was transferred out of the facility before a physical therapist could be obtained. Plaintiff alleged that the delay in obtaining a recommendation for a second surgery constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The Court found that the administrative staff had no role in providing or procuring medical care for Plaintiff and that Plaintiff could not establish liability against them. As to the jail medical staff, the Court found that their actions were not deliberately indifferent since they treated Plaintiff’s complaints of pain, promptly attempted to acquire his medical records, and relied on his treating surgeon’s recommendation concerning the second surgery. Additionally, the Plaintiff’s surgeon testified that the second surgery was not a guaranteed success, nor was it an immediate necessity. Accordingly, the Court granted summary judgment in Defendants’ favor. The jail administration and medical staff were represented by Michael Condon and Tony Fioretti.

Herndon v. Bukowski

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