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Fisher v. Cataldi

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

January 9, 2018

DR. CATALDI, et al., Defendants.

          Black, J.



         Plaintiff, a former inmate at the Lebanon Correctional Institution (LeCI), brings this pro se prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against LeCI defendants Dr. Cataldi and Ms. Smith, R.N., for violations of his constitutional rights. This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment and supporting exhibits (Docs. 30, 31) and plaintiffs memorandum in opposition (Doc. 38).

         A. Facts

         Plaintiffs verified complaint alleges he had surgery in September 2015 for prostate cancer and that since the surgery he has had discharge and bleeding from his rectum. (Doc. 4). Plaintiff alleges that a urologist has ordered that he be seen for these symptoms but Dr. Cataldi "overlooked" his symptoms. Plaintiff cites to a medical record from December 1, 2015 from the Ohio State University Medical Center (OSUMC) showing that he "still has some blood per rectum" and noting "refer to GI [gastrointestinal] for blood per rectum." (Doc. 38-1 at 7). Plaintiff also contends that Dr. Cataldi "overlooked" nodules on a lobe of his lung, which plaintiff states "could be cancer as well." (Doc. 4). Plaintiff states that Dr. Cataldi discharged him from the pulmonary chronic care clinic when he knew plaintiff has lung diseases. (Doc. 38 at 2; Doc. 38-1 at 10). Plaintiff cites to an OSUMC record from January 13, 2016, which indicates imaging results showing a 0.6 cm nodule on his lung. (Doc. 38-1 at 13). In addition, plaintiff alleges he has issues with chronic pain and with pain medication. Plaintiff states he has experienced chronic pain since undergoing open heart surgery in 2005 and he experiences pain during bowel movements. Plaintiff contends that Dr. Cataldi has tried to make him quantify the number of times he experiences pain even though the pain is chronic. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges defendant Smith is a health care administrator whose "job is to make sure that the doctor is given [sic] each inmate proper care." (Id. at 8). Plaintiff alleges that defendant Smith "allowed Dr. Cataldi to violate policies" and "saw the neglect from Dr. Cataldi, but also refused to do anything about it." (Id.).

         Defendants present evidence that plaintiff arrived at LeCI on January 22, 2015 and transferred to Madison Correctional Institution (HMaCI") on June 13, 2016. (Doc. 31, Ex. A at I - 2). Defendants have presented extensive records of plaintiff s medical visits, summaries, and encounters with Dr. Cataldi and other medical professionals at LeCI and OSUMC concerning treatment for plaintiffs numerous medical conditions. (Doc. 31, Exs. F, G, H, I, J, K). Dr. Cataldi estimates there have been approximately 180 encounters with plaintiff throughout his time at LeCI. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, Cataldi Declaration, ¶I4; Doc. 31, Ex. G, FisherMed 00270-380).

         1. Prostate Condition

         Dr. Cataldi's first visit with plaintiff was on January 28, 2015. (Doc. 31, Ex. G FisherMed 0028). Dr. Cataldi assessed multiple medical problems, including hypertension, elevated lipid level, chronic chest wall pain, and elevated PSA level. Dr. Cataldi monitored plaintiffs prostate condition including by ordering and monitoring lab work, performing examinations, and referring plaintiff to a urologist for a prostate biopsy and to other off-site specialists. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶¶ 11, 28; Doc. 31, Exs. F, G, H, I, K (d)). In May 2015, Dr. Cataldi informed plaintiff of the biopsy result, which was positive for prostate cancer. Dr. Cataldi ordered a urology consultation for a surgical evaluation. (Doc. 31, Ex. G FisherMed 00303-04). Dr. Cataldi continued to monitor plaintiffs prostate condition following the biopsy result. While plaintiff initially expressed uncertainty about pursuing surgery (Id. at 000298-29), following further discussions with Dr. Cataldi about his treatment options plaintiff eventually opted for and underwent surgery on his prostate gland on September 4, 2015. (Id. at 000295; Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 19; Doc. 31, Ex. K, (d)). Upon his return to LeCI following surgery, plaintiff recovered in the LeCI infirmary and was returned to the general population on September 17, 2015. (Doc. 31, Ex. Gat 000287).

         2. Discharge from Rectum

         Following his prostatectomy, plaintiff experienced symptoms of discharge and rectal bleeding. Plaintiff was seen by an OSUMC urologist on December 1, 2015 for a post-surgery consultation. (Doc. 31, Ex. H at 0084). Dr. Cataldi examined plaintiff on December 4, 2015 and reviewed his PSA results. Dr. Cataldi also ordered hemoccult testing to be performed on three separate days to test for blood in plaintiffs stools. (Id. at 0085). At plaintiffs next visit with Dr. Cataldi on December 15, 2015, Dr. Cataldi reported they were awaiting the results of the hemoccult testing. (Doc. 31, Ex. H at 0077-80). Dr. Cataldi states that plaintiff completed the hemoccult card tests and all three cards returned negative for fecal blood. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 27). Dr. Cataldi states that if the tests had been positive for blood, he would have placed a referral for a gastrointestinal consultation. Because the tests were negative, a gastrointestinal referral was not warranted. (Id.).

         In February 2016, Dr. Cataldi performed a digital rectal examination to check the site of the prostatectomy. (Id., ¶ 26). Dr. Cataldi noted that an anal fissure was the source of plaintiff s pain. (Id.). Dr. Cataldi then prescribed Anusol ointment and the medicine was continued through May 2016. (Id.; Doc. 31, Ex. H at 0042-43). In a follow-up visit to OSUMC in March 2016, there were no objective signs of bleeding noted and no complaints of pain. Plaintiff was to follow-up with the urology specialist in six months. (Doc. 31, Ex. H at 0039).

         3. Chronic Pain

         Dr. Cataldi states that plaintiff had long-standing complaints of chronic pain, including chest pain. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 28). Plaintiff was referred to OSUMC for several tests for chest pain, which were followed up by Dr. Cataldi with referrals, examinations and cardiology evaluations. (Id.; Doc. 31, Exs. F, G, I, K). During plaintiffs multiple examinations, his presentation and vital signs did not indicate he was in distress. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 32; Doc. 31, Exs. F, H). Plaintiff complained repeatedly of chest pain; however, examinations related to this pain, including cardiac studies, indicated that the pain was not cardiac related. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 39).

         Plaintiff was seen at the emergency department on January 12, 2016 for complaints of chest pain after he developed pressure in his chest while jogging. (Doc. 31, Ex. J at 000392). Plaintiffs symptoms resolved with medication and he was subsequently transferred to OSUMC for further testing. (Id. at 00394-000458). On January 19, 2016, upon his return to LeCI, plaintiff was seen for his post-hospital discharge. Dr. Cataldi reviewed the OSUMC discharge report and examined plaintiff. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, Cataldi Declaration, ¶¶ 29, 30; Doc. 31, Exs. F, H). Dr. Cataldi noted that plaintiffs chest pain was not cardiac in origin, and he should accept that he will have chronic, recurrent chest pain and that Ultram/Tramadol will not eliminate the pain. Dr. Cataldi also observed that the OSUMC report advised plaintiff to lose weight as his weight may be a contributing factor and recommended that he reduce his Ultram/Tramadol intake. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 29; Doc. 31, Ex. H at 0047). That same day, Dr. Cataldi reduced plaintiffs prescription for Ultram/Tramadol. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 30; Doc. 31, Ex. H at 0080). Dr. Cataldi readjusted plaintiffs medications on February 11, 2016. (Doc. 31, Ex. B, ¶ 30). He also placed a consultation request to the Mental Health Department to assist plaintiff in managing his chronic pain. (Id., ¶ 31). On April 24, 2016, plaintiff complained of chest pain and Dr. Cataldi ordered promethazine and 650 mg of aspirin as a form of pain control and instructed nursing to monitor him for one hour. (Id., ¶ 41). He also ordered sublingual Nitroglycerin in an effort to reduce plaintiffs chest pain. (Id.). On April 26, 2016, plaintiff was admitted to the infirmary for complaints of dizziness. Dr. Cataldi suspected that plaintiff was experiencing the effects of withdrawal from Ultram/Tramadol (an opioid) and increased the Tramadol to 50 mg, twice daily as needed. (Id., ¶ 42). The dizziness cleared and plaintiff was released from the infirmary one day later. (Id.). Dr. Cataldi states he attempted to decrease the amount of ...

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