United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DANNY C. REEVES, District Judge.
Plaintiff Tristan Haynes is currently confined at United States Penitentiary-McCreary ("USP-McCreary") in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without an attorney, Haynes filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to the doctrine announced in Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against medical personnel at USP-McCreary. Haynes claims that the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs relating to the treatment of his skin condition, in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Post-screening, this action proceeded against Defendants Stephanie Martin, Family Nurse Practitioner ("FNP"); Marc Anthony Bryant, Public Health Service - Physician Assistant ("PHS-PA"); Karen Bennett-Baker, Advance Practice Nurse Practitioner ("APNP"); Rhonda Jones, Health Services Administrator ("HSA"); and Larry Stephens, Assistant Health Services Administrator ("AHSA"). Haynes seeks a transfer to a prison where he can receive proper medical attention, punitive damages of $900, 000.00, and compensatory damages of $100, 000.00 for claimed damage to his skin.
Defendants PHS-PA Bryant, APNP Bennett-Baker, HSA Jones, and AHSA Stephens have moved to dismiss the claims asserted against them pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Alternatively, they seek summary judgment under Rule 56. [Record No. 18] Additionally, Haynes has moved to amend the complaint. [Record No. 25] For the reasons explained below, the defendants' motion will be granted and the plaintiff's motion will be denied.
A. Haynes' Complaint
Haynes contends that, in 2010, he sought treatment for a facial skin condition that initially was thought to be acne. He claims that medical personnel informed him that the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") does not treat acne. As a result, Haynes was advised to obtain an over-the-counter medication in the commissary. [Record No. 1, p. 4] However, the medication he obtained from the commissary was ineffective and his skin condition worsened, appeared to be infected, and began oozing blood and pus. [ Id. ] Haynes repeatedly returned to sick call seeking treatment for this condition. He was treated with penicillin but that medication did not alleviate the condition. Ultimately, a culture was taken, and he states that he had "some type of injection." [ Id. ] Haynes claims that the treatment he received from the USP-McCreary medical staff did not remedy his skin disorder and that it continued to worsen, was painful, left him with scarred skin and, at the time he filed his Complaint, had spread to his face, head, chest, hand, back, and leg. His skin disorder was ultimately diagnosed as Staphylococcus Epidermis, which is resistant to most of the treatments he has received. [ Id. ] Haynes contends his condition continues to be untreated. [ Id. ]
The exhibits attached to the Complaint indicate that, on March 1, 2012, Haynes was examined and evaluated by FNP Martin at the Health Services Unit. FNP Martin summarized this visit, finding:
Subjective: 29 year old gentleman that states he has been seen repeatedly (more than 12 times in the last year) for what has been diagnosed as acne and keloids. He states that no matter the treatment it has gotten progressively worse. He presents extremely upset, stating he is under a great deal of stress. He is aware that the BOP does not treat acne, but his condition is supporative and seems to be worsening even with administration of antiobiotics [sic.]. Patient states he has tried everything in the commissary he can think of and currently is using neutrogena which he feels helps. Patient has had multiple cultures done. See reports. Last culture exhibited yeast. Patient denies all other problems or concerns. He complains of fatigue. Patient advised we will do routine health screening to make sure there are no other causatives and also I recommend possibly treatment for stress/anxiety as it this [sic] may help alleviate the heightened level of the outbreaks. Patient hygiene measures reviewed.
[Record No. 1-1, p. 7]
FNP Martin reported that the examination of Haynes' skin showed "pustules, comedomes [sic], keloids scattered over face copiously and extending to his trunk and back. Areas inflammed and swollen to face." [Record No. 1-1, p. 8] She prescribed metroNIDAZOLE tablets, Fluconazole tablets, and busPIRone tablets. [ Id. at 8-9] Haynes was also advised to return to sick call as needed and to follow-up in two weeks. [ Id. ]
Haynes claims that the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by: (i) misdiagnosing his skin disorder; (ii) continuing to prescribe medication that was ineffective to remedy the skin condition; and (iii) not referring him to a dermatologist to treat this skin disorder before his skin became permanently damaged by this condition. Prior to filing this action, Haynes exhausted the administrative remedies available to him through the BOP.
B. Haynes' Medical Records
Haynes' medical records establish that he has been receiving medical treatment regarding his skin condition from approximately July 2010 through July 28, 2013. Specifically, his records indicate that he began receiving treatment for his skin condition on July 12, 2010, while he was at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. At that time, he was prescribed Tetracycline for acne. [Record No. 18-4, p. 2] On July 21, 2010, Haynes was transferred to USP-McCreary. Upon his arrival, he underwent a health screening by Health Services Registered Nurse ("RN") B. Burchett. Notably, Haynes reported no skin problems at that time and no skin lesions or body deformities were noted.
On August 20, 2010, Haynes was seen by PHS-PA Bryant for several medical complaints, including a skin problem. He was prescribed Doxycycline for his skin problem. PHS-PA Bryant saw Haynes again on October 19, 2010, at which time he complained of skin problems and presented a history of folliculitis on his back. This condition improved while Haynes was taking Doxycycline for a two-week period, but it worsened after Haynes stopped taking that medication. As a result, Haynes' prescription for Doxycycline was renewed. See Declaration of Jorge Vasquez-Velazquez, M.D., p. 3 [Record No. 18-4, p. 3].
On December 29, 2010, Haynes was seen at sick call by Physician Assistant ("PA") M. Zugula for a complaint of a painful pustular rash on his face. During the examination, nodules, pustules, cysts and comedomes were noted, and Haynes reported a history of previous acne. He was prescribed Clindamycin, Baciraci/Polymyxin B. ointment, and Triamcinolone 0.1% cream. [ Id. ]
Haynes' complaints of a chronic acne-type skin condition continued into 2011. PA M. Zugula examined and prescribed treatment for Haynes in January, February, and March, 2011. Subsequently, he was seen by various other personnel in Health Services once in April, four times in May, once in June, and three times in July of that year for his skin condition. [Record No. 20] During these visits, the plaintiff was prescribed Sulfamethoxazole/Trimeth and was educated on his condition and treatment plan. At various points, cultures were ordered and reviewed by the medical staff. In September, Haynes requested more medication for his skin. He was also seen by Health Services in October and November, and on December 27, 2011, he requested a referral to a dermatologist. [Record No. 20-1, p. 1]
In 2012, Haynes continued to seek and receive treatment at Health Services for his chronic skin condition. His BOP medical records for 2012 reflect that on January 4, 2012, Dr. Vazquez-Velazquez evaluated him, found cysts on his forehead, maxilla, chin, and anterior neck, and prescribed Doxycycline. [Record No. 20-1, pp. 2-4] Haynes followed-up and was seen, examined, and treated by FNP Martin on three different occasions in March and once in April. [ Id., pp. 6-10, 13-16, 21-25, 29-34] In March 2012, the plaintiff's skin condition presented a marked improvement and appeared to be responding to the his treatment. During this time the medical staff continued to monitor the plaintiff's condition, taking cultures as well as scheduling follow-up appointments.
On May 16, 2012, Dr. Vazquez-Velazquez evaluated Haynes again because his skin lesion/rash was not responding to conservative treatment. [ Id., pp. 41-44] On August 9, 2012, Haynes was examined by a ...