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Drakeford v. Mullins

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

August 9, 2016

DR. MULLINS, et al, Defendants.


          Hon. Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge.

         Rahsan Drakeford, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 about his conditions of confinement at Red Onion State Prison ("ROSP"). Plaintiff names Dr. Mullins and Nurse Scott, who are medical staff at ROSP, as defendants. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, and Plaintiff responded, making this matter ripe for disposition.[1]

         Plaintiff complains that he hurt his wrist while on the recreation yard at ROSP on May 23, 2014. He feels that the medical treatments he received - assessments, treatments, medications, and surgery - violated the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff takes particular issue with the use of Tylenol to treat his pain, Nurse Scott allegedly telling him he does not need medication, and the thirteen-day delay between when he broke his wrist and when he received surgery. Because the record does not support a finding of deliberate indifference, I grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.


         On Friday, May 23, 2014, Dr. Mullins received a call that Plaintiff had injured his wrist. Dr. Mullins instructed that Plaintiff keep the wrist elevated above his heart, and Dr. Mullins ordered an ace wrap, an ice pack, an X ray, Motrin 800 m.g. by mouth immediately, and Motrin 400 m.g. by mouth twice a day for five days. Dr. Mullins also ordered Plaintiff to be admitted into the medical department until seeing the X ray results.

         Later that day, Dr. Mullins learned that the X ray revealed a fracture, and Dr. Mullins ordered a splint and an ice pack as needed for 24 hours. Dr. Mullins again instructed that Plaintiffs wrist be elevated above heart level.

         Although not scheduled to do so, Dr. Mullins went to ROSP on Saturday, May 24, 2014, to review the X ray results and examine Plaintiff to ensure that someone saw him within twenty-four hours of the injury. The X ray showed an "acute comminuted fracture of the distal radius epiphyseal metaphyseal region." Dr. Mullins ordered staff to splint the wrist and schedule a consultation with an orthopedic specialist and instructed Plaintiff to keep the wrist above heart level. To treat pain, Dr. Mullins prescribed both "Tylenol #3" - which contains 300 m.g. of Tylenol and 30 m.g. of the narcotic codeine - four times a day and 800 m.g. of Ibuprofen three times a day for twenty-one days. Dr. Mullins prescribed both medications in case Plaintiff could not tolerate one of them, but Plaintiff could receive only one of the two medications.

         Nurse Scott worked the night shift on May 24, 2014, and saw Plaintiff at 6:30 p.m. for his complaints of "throbbing." Nurse Scott reviewed the chart and read that the prior duty nurse had given Tylenol #3 to Plaintiff at 3:20 p.m.[2] Nurse Scott did not administer pain medication at that time because it was too soon since Plaintiff received his last dose, which Nurse Scott argues is very different from "refusing" to provide him with ordered medication.[3] Nurse Scott denies ever telling Plaintiff that he did not need to be medicated.

         Nurse Scott saw Plaintiff again at 9:15 p.m. Plaintiff complained that his wrist hurt, Nurse Scott gave Tylenol #3 to Plaintiff, and Nurse Scott did not receive further complaints from Plaintiff that night.

         Nurse Scott examined Plaintiff next at 6:15 p.m. on May 25, 2014, which revealed no distress, and Plaintiff did not complain of pain at that time. Plaintiffs medical record informed Nurse Scott that Plaintiff had received Tylenol #3 at 4:20 p.m.

         By 9:15 p.m., Plaintiff complained that his wrist began to hurt again, and Nurse Scott gave him Tylenol #3. Nurse Scott did not interact with Plaintiff for the remainder of the shift and would not return to ROSP until May 31, 2014. Other medical staff continued to dispense Plaintiffs medication, however.

         Dr. Mullins saw Plaintiff again on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Dr. Mullins noted that the medical staff was trying to schedule an orthopedic consultation that same day. Dr. Mullins renewed the Tylenol #3 for four times a day.

         Dr. Mullins saw Plaintiff again on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Dr. Mullins noted that arrangements had been made for him to see an orthopedic specialist on Monday, June 2, 2014. Dr. Mullins noted that Plaintiff was doing well at that time. Dr. Mullins personally contacted the orthopedic office to make sure they were aware of the date of injury and the X ray findings and diagnosis, and the orthopedic office did not make any recommendations at that time or move up the appointment.

         On May 30, 2014, Dr. Mullins was advised that the order for Tylenol #3 had expired, and Dr. Mullins ordered prescription strength Ibuprofen 800 m.g. three times a day for pain. Dr. Mullins did not renew Tylenol #3 because of the risks of dependency to codeine. Dr. Mullins received a call later that evening that Plaintiff was complaining about pain, so ...

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