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Michael Edward Sharpe v. Ediberto Medina

August 8, 2011

MICHAEL EDWARD SHARPE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDIBERTO MEDINA, M.D., DIANE HESS, R.N., MARYLIN ANGUD,M.L.P., PAUL SHULTZ, WARDEN. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff, Michael Edward Sharpe, is a prisoner incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Fairton, in Fairton (hereinafter "FCI Fairton"), New Jersey. He alleges Defendants Ediberto Medina, M.D. (hereinafter "Dr. Medina"), Diane Hess, R.N. (hereinafter "Hess") and Marilyn Angud, M.L.P. (hereinafter "Angud") were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He also alleges thatformer Warden Paul Schultz (hereinafter "Schultz") acted with deliberate indifference by failing to promulgate a policy to provide inmates with on-site medical care between the hours of 12:00 A.M. and 06:00 A.M. Defendants move for summary judgment [Doc. 19]. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion.

I. JURISDICTION

Plaintiff has alleged several Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

A. Facts

On May 15, 2009, Plaintiff, complaining of chest pain, presented himself to FCI Fairton's health services unit. After a brief consultation with a doctor, an electrocardiogram (hereinafter "EKG") was performed. The test results were abnormal, and Plaintiff was quickly transported to the emergency room at South Jersey Regional Medical Center in Vineland, New Jersey. Upon his arrival to the hospital, Dr. Gladwyn D. Baptist (hereinafter "Dr. Baptist"), a cardiologist, examined Plaintiff. After he performed an echocardiogram, Dr. Baptist concluded that Plaintiff did not suffer a heart attack, but has atypical chest pain not caused by a blood flow obstruction.*fn2 Dr. Baptist prescribed Metroprolol*fn3 , a beta blocker. Plaintiff then returned to FCI Fairton, where he met with Defendant Angud for a post-consultation visit. Medical records indicate Defendant Angud ordered Metroprolol for Plaintiff.

The parties, however, dispute whether Defendant Angud informed Plaintiff that he needed to retrieve the medication from the prison's pharmacy.*fn4 In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was never informed that he had to acquire the Metroprolol directly from the prison pharmacy. In her affidavit, Defendant Angud asserts that when she "put[s] in a new medication order," she informs "the inmate to pick up the medication at the pharmacy or to come to the medication line." Doc. 20, Dec. of Marilyn Angud ¶ 6. Plaintiff's medical records indicate he failed to retrieve the Metoprolol from the prison pharmacy.*fn5

According to Plaintiff's Complaint, during the early morning hours of June 3, 2009, he experienced chest pain, which prompted him to contact a corrections officer and request medical assistance. Unable to contact the prison's health services unit, the corrections officer informed Plaintiff that he had to wait until morning for an evaluation because there were no medical professionals on duty. At 6:00 A.M., the health services unit was again contacted, and Plaintiff was sent for an evaluation.

Upon his arrival to the health services unit, Defendant Diane Hess informed him that he had to wait until she completed dispensing medication to the other inmates before she could evaluate his condition. Approximately an hour later, Defendant Dr. Medina arrived and concluded that Plaintiff's condition was not urgent. Shortly thereafter, the prison was placed on institutional lock-down, and Plaintiff was required to return to his cell.*fn6

Later that day, Plaintiff again returned to the health services unit. Medical staff performed another EKG, which produced the same irregularities as the first examination. Plaintiff also admitted his noncompliance with respect to the Metoprolol. Over the next several months, Plaintiff continuously returned to the health services unit complaining of chest pain. The records from these visits indicate the seriousness or severity of his condition never increased.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed his Complaint on August 20, 2010, alleging Defendants Dr. Medina, Hess and Angud were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and that Defendant Schultz acted with deliberate indifference by failing to promulgate a policy to provide inmates with on-site medical care from 12:00 A.M. to 06:00 A.M. On December 20, 2010, Defendants moved for summary judgment [Doc. 19]. Several months later, Plaintiff filed his opposition to Defendants' Motion, which included four declarations from inmates averring that prison cells at FCI Fairton do not contain any working emergency panic buttons. In their March 14, 2011 reply brief, Defendants contended that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's claim regarding the emergency panic buttons because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and failed to raise the issue in his ...


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