United States District Court, D. Delaware
Jamaal Fields, Pro Se
Plaintiff Dana Spring Monzo, Lindsey E. Imbrogno, White and
Williams LLP, Wilmington, DE -Attorneys for Defendants
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Isaiah Fields ("Plaintiff or "Mr. Fields")
filed this action pro se against defendants
Connections, Inc. ("Connections"), the medical
provider within the Delaware prison system, and Louise Ryan
("Nurse Practitioner Ryan") (collectively
"Defendants"), one of the nurse practitioners who
provided care to Mr. Fields. The Complaint, filed pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleges violations of the Eighth
Amendment for failure to provide adequate medical treatment
for injuries Mr. Fields sustained while playing basketball at
Sussex Correctional Institution ("SCI"). (D.I. 1).
before the Court are (1) a motion for summary judgment (D.I.
52) filed by Defendants and (2) a motion for summary judgment
filed by Mr. Fields. (D.I. 62). The Court has reviewed the
motions for summary judgment, the supporting papers, and the
responses. (D.I. 52, 53, 55, 60, 62, 64). It has also
reviewed the allegations in the Complaint, the discovery
responses submitted, and the significant medical record
pertaining to Mr. Field's allegations. (D.I. 53 at Exhs.
B, C; D.I. 61, D.I. 63). For the reasons discussed below, the
Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment
(D.I. 52) and deny Plaintiffs motion (D.I. 62).
February 1, 2016, Mr. Fields injured his left ankle while
playing basketball at SCI. (D.I. 1 at 6). He was apparently
able to walk to the infirmary where he was seen by the
nursing staff. (D.I. 53-4 at 119). He was given an ice pack
and 400 mg of ibuprofen and instructed to report any increase
in pain or immobility. (D.I. 53-4 at 119, 221). Nurse
Practitioner Ryan examined Mr. Fields a few days later. (D.I.
53-4 at 119). She noted that he complained of pain in his
ankle, but that he had a full range of motion in all four of
his extremities. (D.I. 53-3 at 35; D.I. 53-4 at 119). She
ordered an x-ray and instructed him to file a "sick
call" if his symptoms did not improve. (D.I. 53-4 at
118). The x-ray showed "a normal left ankle."
(Id.). Based on the record before the Court, this
was the only interaction between Mr. Fields and Nurse
Practitioner Ryan in connection with the allegations in the
Mr. Fields continued to experience pain and to seek treatment
for his injury. On February 9, 2016, Mr. Fields filed a
"sick call," complaining of ankle pain, and saying
he had not been examined, despite his prior visit to the
infirmary and his examination by Nurse Practitioner Ryan.
(D.I. 53-4 at 219). On that same day, Mr. Fields saw a nurse,
who noted mild to moderate swelling in his ankle, a bruise on
his heel, and limited flexion and extension of the ankle.
(D.I. 53-4 at 118). The nurse educated Mr. Fields "on
resting, icing and elevating" his leg. (D.I. 53-4 at
118-119). Mr. Fields again saw nurses on February 12, 19 and
24, 2016. (D.I. 53-4 at 118). The notes of these visit
indicate mild swelling and a normal x-ray. (Id.).
Fields requested an MRI and filed grievances within the
prison system to make his wishes known. (Id.). He
was seen for two Level 1 grievances on February 24, 2016 and
was informed that he could request to see a medical provider
to come up with a new treatment plan. At that time, Mr.
Fields said he would rather proceed with the grievance
process instead. (Id.). He continued to make
"sick calls" for ankle pain and each time was seen
by a nurse in response. (D.I. 53-4 at 89-118). Mr. Fields saw
a nurse practitioner for his ankle pain again on May 20,
2016. (D.I. 53-4 at 113). At the time his gait was
"normal" and he was given an ankle brace and
August 4, 2016, a physician reviewed Mr. Fields's
records. (D.I. 53-4 at 111). That physician pointed out in
his note that it appeared that "the pain and physical
changes are out of proportion to the complaints," but
noted that they would "continue to address" the
issue. (Id.). The physician saw Mr. Fields on August
17, 2016. (D.I. 53-4 at 110-111). He noted that Mr. Fields
had not followed the medical advice to ice and rest his ankle
when the initial sprain occurred and now the pain was worse.
(Id.). Mr. Fields was given insoles for his shoes
and crutches and instructed to take ibuprofen.
(Id.). He continued to file "sick calls"
and continued to be seen by the nurses in response. (D.I.
53-4 at 89-111, 150-221). Follow-up x-rays were taken and
again found to be normal. (D.I. 53-4 at 109). The physician
saw Mr. Fields for follow up on September 29, 2016, again
noting Mr. Fields's failure to comply with treatment
recommendations. (D.I. 53-4 at 109). He was diagnosed with a
grade HI ankle sprain and an e-consult was placed to
orthopedics. (Id.). Thereafter, he filed more
"sick calls," had more nurse evaluations, and was
found to have normal range of motion. (D.I. 53-4 at 89-111,
physician saw Mr. Fields on December 21, 2016. (D.I. 53-4 at
107-108). He noted that Mr. Fields had swelling, but a normal
range of motion. (Id.). The physician ordered an
ultrasound of his ankle to rule out blood clots. The
ultrasound results were normal, and Mr. Fields was referred
to physical therapy. (Id.). Mr. Fields attended
multiple physical therapy sessions. (D.I. 53-4 100-107). Mr.
Fields said he still had pain following physical therapy, and
the physical therapist recommended that Mr. Fields be seen by
"provider/MD for further evaluation and other
recommendations." (D.I. 53-4 at 100). Mr. Fields was
seen by a physician on February 15 and February 22, 2017, and
the physician placed a consult request for Mr. Fields to be
seen by an outside physician as well as a request for an MRI.
(Id. at 100-101).
Fields continued to be seen by the nurses. (D.I. 53-4 at
89-100; D.I. 63). He saw an outside orthopedist on August 7,
2017. (D.I. 53-4 at 91). The orthopedist diagnosed a chronic
ankle sprain and prescribed a brace. (Id.). The
orthopedist also gave Mr. Fields a steroid injection in his
knee for a medial meniscal tear. (Id.). An MRI on
his knee was ordered on September 27, 2017. (D.I. 53-4 at
89-91). Additional physical therapy was ordered, and a
podiatry consult was requested. (Id.). An MRI of Mr.
Field's left ankle occurred on January 9, 2018, and
reportedly was normal. (D.I. 60 at 4; D.I. 61). Mr. Fields
has continued to receive therapy for his injury. (D.I. 55 at
1; D.I. 63 at 5).