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Banks v. Gore

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

June 3, 2016

Steven Leon Banks, Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. Vincent Gore, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         Steven Leon Banks filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs at Greensville Correctional Center ("GCC"). The defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, as well as a memorandum of law and numerous supporting exhibits. Dkt. Nos. 56, 57. Plaintiff was given the Notice required by Local Rule 7(K) and the opportunity to file responsive materials pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975). Plaintiff did not file a response, and the matter is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment must be granted.

         I. Plaintiffs Allegations

         A. Nurse Angela Smith

         In his Second Amended Complaint, plaintiff contends that Nurse Angela Smith is liable for medical malpractice because she terminated his dialysis treatment on a day in which the water system on the dialysis machine went down, June 14, 2013. Dkt. No. 40 at 8. Plaintiff claims that he became very ill and had to be placed in the infirmary as a result. Id.

         B. Dr. Vincent Gore

         Plaintiff also contends that Dr. Vincent Gore is liable to him for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and medical malpractice. Id at 5-9. First, plaintiff claims that he injured his head, resulting in a "severe concussion, " when he slipped and fell on a wet floor at GCC sometime in 2012. Id. at 7. He claims that, over a year after his fall, in October 2013 and January 2014, Dr. Gore refused three requests made by plaintiffs primary doctor for an offsite neurology appointment. Id. at 3-5. Plaintiff claims that as a result of Dr. Gore's refusal, he suffers from continued pain in his head, dizziness, and paralysis in his left side. Id. He asserts that Dr. Gore's denial of the three requests constitutes deliberate indifference. Id at 8.

         Second, plaintiff claims that in February 2014 he begged Dr. Gore to treat his Hepatitis C with a new HCV drug, Harvoni, and Dr. Gore wrongfully denied his request. Id at 8. Plaintiff contends that he continues to suffer side effects due to damage to his liver as a result of Dr. Gore's denial of his repeated requests for Harvoni. Id at 8-9. Finally, plaintiff claims that in March 2014 Dr. Gore refused a gastroenterologist request for removal of kidney stones from plaintiffs "bi[le] duct." Id at 9.

         C. Nurse Shearyl Kee

         There are no allegations in the Second Amended Complaint against Nurse Shearyl Kee, and she is not listed among the defendants. The Second Amended Complaint is the operative complaint in this case, so any initial claims against her must be dismissed.

         Plaintiff requests declaratory relief, punitive damages of $500, 000, and compensatory damages of $75, 000 from Dr. Gore.

         II. Undisputed Factual Background

         At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Dr. Vincent Gore treated plaintiff based upon his medical judgment and experience. See Dkt. No. 57, Ex. 1 ("Gore Dec") ¶¶ 4-5. Dr. Gore approved specialist consultations and procedures for plaintiff on several occasions. Gore Dec. ¶ 5; Dkt. No. 57, Ex. 2 ("Med. Rec") at 8, 12, 28.

         On January 16, 2014, a year and a half after plaintiffs reported fall, Dr. Gore recommended deferral of a neurology consultation requested by a provider, and he instead recommended that plaintiff be seen in the clinic for 6 months first. Gore Dec. ¶ 5; Med. Rec. at 11. Dr. Gore believed that more information and extensive observation were necessary before an offsite neurology consultation was to be scheduled; specifically, he noted that plaintiff had other medical conditions, including congestive heart failure, and some of the medications used to treat those conditions could have caused plaintiffs headaches and dizziness. Id. Dr. Gore also recommended that if plaintiff had increased back or leg pain, physical therapy should be considered. Id.

         Plaintiff had reported left leg weakness, headache, dizziness, and lower back pain to Dr. Gore, and Dr. Gore's neurological evaluation of him was within normal limits. Id. Specifically, plaintiffs lower spinal x-rays showed normal alignment with anterior wedging (potentially from osteoporosis) at Tl 1 and T12. Id. Based upon his evaluation of plaintiff, Dr. Gore did not believe plaintiff had any urgent need to be seen by a neurologist. Id Even after Dr. ...


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