The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jerome B. Simandle
This matter, involving alleged inadequate medical treatment for a New Jersey state prisoner as well as alleged violations of the United States and New Jersey Constitutions, is before the Court on Defendant CFG Health System LLC's motion for partial summary judgment. [Docket Item 13.] Defendant seeks summary judgment only on claims alleging negligent medical treatment. The principal issues are whether Plaintiff has timely complied with N.J. Stat. Ann. § 53A-27, which requires an affidavit of merit for medical malpractice claims, and, if not, whether Plaintiff's medical malpractice claims fall within the common knowledge exception to § 53A-27.
II. Background and Facts*fn1
Plaintiff, Colleen E. McBride, filed this lawsuit against County of Atlantic, New Jersey, Atlantic County Justice Facility, CFG Health Systems, two nursing employees of CFG as well as several unnamed correctional officers, unknown medical personnel and unnamed corporations.*fn2
At the time of the incident, on or about April 1, 2008, Plaintiff was a prisoner at the Atlantic County Justice Facility (ACJF), where she was assigned to the top bunk in her cell.
Compl. Count I ¶¶ 4-6. Because no ladders were provided to go up to and come down from the top bunk, she had to use the existing furniture to climb down to the floor from her bunk. Id. ¶¶ 8-9.
On April 1, 2008,*fn3 as she used a table to climb down, she slipped and fell onto a bed located on the floor, hitting her chest. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. After the accident, Plaintiff went to see Defendant Loeffler, the attending nurse at the medical unit. Id.
¶¶ 20-21. Defendant Loeffler provided Plaintiff with an ice pack and some extra-strength Tylenol but denied Plaintiff's request to go to a hospital. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. Later that same day, Plaintiff received an X-Ray of her chest at the medical unit. Id. ¶ 26.
The following day, April 2, Plaintiff was informed she had soft tissue damage and received a second X-Ray. Id. ¶ 28. Medical personnel advised Plaintiff to continue to apply ice; Plaintiff informed the medical unit that she did not have access to any ice, and they responded that they would bring her some. Id. ¶¶ 29-30. However, they failed to do so. Id. ¶ 31.
On April 3, Plaintiff was told that the second X-Ray did not show signs of any fractures. Id. ¶ 33. At this time, medical personnel performed a "PulseOx" test on Plaintiff and informed Plaintiff they would conduct a third X-Ray. Id. ¶ 34.*fn4
On April 7, Plaintiff was sent back to the medical unit where she saw a physician for the first time since her accident on April 1. Id. ¶ 45. The attending physician told Plaintiff that "she would be required to undergo surgery because of the hematoma on her chest" and was scheduled to ...