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Newell v. Southern Health Partners, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

July 30, 2019

JOHN WESLEY NEWELL PLAINTIFF
v.
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC. et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          GREG N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (DN 56) and Defendants' Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony (DN 57). The motions are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED, and the motion to exclude is DENIED AS MOOT.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         During the time period relevant to this matter, Plaintiff John Wesley Newell (“Newell”) was a prisoner incarcerated at the Warren County Regional Jail (“WCRJ”). (Compl. ¶ 3, DN 1). Defendant Southern Health Partners, Inc. (“SHP”) contracts with the WCRJ to provide medical care to inmates housed in that facility. (Compl. ¶ 6). Defendants Ronald Waldridge, MD, Barry Dority, APRN, and nurses Sandra Hodge, Lesa Watts (“Watts”), and Talana Lasley (“Lasley”) are employed by SHP. (Compl. ¶ 6).

         On July 7, 2014, Newell was booked into the WCRJ. During the booking process, Newell denied having any medical conditions or taking any prescription medications. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, at 1, DN 56-2). During his admission physical on October 1, 2014, it was reported that Newell's vital signs were normal but that he experienced joint problems and left knee pain. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. B, at 2, DN 56-3).

         On April 25, 2015, Newell complained to Watts of shortness of breath, which Newell had begun experiencing the previous day. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C, at 1, DN 56-4). Newell also had night sweats and a trace of blood in his sputum. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C, at 1). His blood pressure was 144/84, and he had a mild fever of 99.7 degrees. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C, at 1). Newell was prescribed an antibiotic and Ibuprofen 400 mg to address his symptoms. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C, at 1; Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. D, at 1, DN 56-5). He also received a breathing treatment with Albuterol. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. D, at 1).

         On June 8, 2015, Lasley saw Newell, who complained of pain with breathing for two days and had bloody sputum. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1, DN 56-6). Newell rated his pain as 8 on a scale of 10. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1). Based on his complaints, an x-ray was ordered. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1; Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. F, at 1, DN 56-7). Newell was also prescribed Ibuprofen 400 mg. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. D, at 1).

         On June 9, 2015, Newell complained of more severe constant pain in his chest while inhaling. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1). The progress notes from that day indicate that Newell's lungs were “diminished all lobs.” (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1). The radiologist who reviewed the prior day's x-ray film noted “[m]inimal LEFT basilar infiltrate.” (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. F, at 1). Based on Newell's symptoms and the radiologist's review of the x-ray, Newell was prescribed Bactrim, Robitussin DM, and Tylenol 500 mg. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. D, at 1).

         On the morning of June 17, 2015, Newell submitted an inmate medical request noting that he was still coughing up blood, had severe chest pain, and was having shortness of breath. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. G, at 1, DN 56-8). Newell noted that he had been experiencing symptoms for two months but that they “came back about 10 or 11 days ago[.]” (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. G, at 1). When Watts saw Newell on June 18, 2015, he had labored breathing and a fever. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1; Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. H, at 1, DN 56-9). Newell also reported bloody sputum and right-side pain. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. H, at 1). He received a breathing treatment with Albuterol and was prescribed Ibuprofen 400 mg. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. H, at 2).

         Later that same day, Newell was transported to the emergency room at Medical Center in Bowling Green. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1). A CT scan discovered that Newell had a pulmonary embolism without hemodynamic stability. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, at 1). Upon release from the Medical Center, Newell returned to the WCRJ. (Compl. ¶ 3).

         Newell filed this action alleging a violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and asserting state law claims of negligence and gross negligence. (Compl. ¶¶ 18-24). Following the completion of discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment and to exclude Newell's expert witness. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., DN 56; Defs.' Mot. Exclude Expert Test., DN 57).

         II. JURISDICTION

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter because Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim presents a federal question. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims arising from the same case or controversy pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

         III. ...


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