United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.
Alphonso Whipper is a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction. He has filed a
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs. After an initial review, the
Court concludes that the complaint should be served on
defendant Ruiz in his individual capacity and that all other
claims against defendants Nurse Doe 1 and Nurse Doe 2 shall
names three defendants: Dr. Richard Ruiz, Nurse Jane Doe 1,
and Nurse Jane Doe 2. The claims concern Whipper's
medical care at Cheshire Correctional Institution.
September 2015, Whipper began working in the marker shop at
Cheshire Correctional Institution. His job required him to
lift heavy materials. Doc. #1, ¶ 8. In October 2015, he
felt a “pop” in his right index finger and a
“sting” in his right forearm and triceps.
Id., ¶ 9. The following morning, he experienced
a loss of feeling in his finger and acute pain in his forearm
and triceps. Id., ¶ 10. Whipper submitted a
sick call request on the advice of the block officer.
Id., ¶ 11.
November 2015, Whipper saw defendant Doe 1, the sick call
duty nurse. Whipper described his injury and told Nurse Doe 1
that he was regaining some feeling in his finger but still
experienced severe pain and soreness in his right forearm and
triceps. Nurse Doe 1 told him that the injury was common at
his age and that the pain would subside with proper rest.
Id., ¶ 12. In December 2015, Whipper submitted
a second sick call request because the pain had not subsided,
and his right arm was very weak. Id., ¶ 13.
January 2016, Whipper saw Nurse Doe 2 at sick call. He
described his pain and stated that his shoulder was now also
involved. Id., ¶ 14. In March 2016, he met with
Dr. Ruiz who stated that plaintiff “probably needs
surgery” but “won't be given surgery”
because of his age and length of sentence. Id.,
¶ 15. In addition, Dr. Ruiz stated that he would not
request another surgery because Whipper previously had an
expensive knee surgery. Ibid.
Ruiz acknowledged damage to Whipper's muscle but stated
that, with proper rest, the arm would be “fully useful,
” and the pain would subside. Dr. Ruiz gave him a
bottle of Tylenol and told him to buy more at the commissary.
Id., ¶ 16. The Tylenol did not provide relief.
Whipper submitted requests to Dr. Ruiz from May 2016 until
October 2016. All requests were ignored. Id., ¶
November 2016, Whipper was called to the medical unit for
sick call. No. treatment or medication was provided. He also
noticed that the date on the sick call request he had
submitted in September had been changed to November.
Id., ¶ 18.
January 2017, a nurse interviewed Whipper in his housing
unit. She tried to discredit his claims rather than treat his
injury and told him she could do nothing for him.
Id., ¶ 19. Whipper reported the incident to the
medical unit. Id., ¶ 20. On January 13, 2017,
he was called to the medical unit for treatment of a stomach
condition. No. treatment was provided for his arm.
Id., ¶ 21. He then submitted a grievance.
Id., ¶ 22.
February 7, 2017, Whipper met with Dr. Ruiz, who stated that
nothing could be done because Whipper would not be provided
surgery or pain medication. Dr. Ruiz explained that
Whipper's muscle was permanently torn and, therefore, he
would require medication permanently. Dr. Ruiz claimed he was
doing Whipper a favor by not giving him medication, because
his body would “get used to” any medication. When
Whipper expressed fear of atrophy, Dr. Ruiz consented to
order a neck x-ray. Id., ¶ 23. Whipper stated
he had no pain in his neck and had not injured any bones in
his neck. He argued that he needed an MRI rather than an
x-ray. Dr. Ruiz would not change the order. Id.,
¶ 24. The x-rays were taken the following day.
Id., ¶ 25.
April 2017, Dr. Ruiz met with Whipper and told him there
would be no surgery to repair the torn muscle. Whipper would
have to treat his pain with Tylenol purchased at the
commissary. Dr. Ruiz would not listen to his description of
the pain or his statements that Tylenol was ineffective.
Id., ¶ 26. Following this visit, Whipper
submitted an informal resolution form to the medical unit
complaining about lack of treatment for his injury and pain.
Id., ¶ 27.
fall of 2017, Whipper was sent to UConn for a neurological
screening to evaluate nerve damage. Dr. Ruiz told him he had
suffered no nerve damage and could resume physical activity,
which he had stopped completely following the injury.
Id., ¶ 28. Dr. Ruiz dismissed Whipper's
concerns that his arm was weaker than usual and that he
continued to experience pain. Id., ¶ 29.
Whipper tried to play basketball and began to exercise.
Id., ¶ 30. Then, in early winter 2017, he woke
to severe pain in his right forearm, triceps, shoulder, and
neck. He believed all the pain was related and submitted a
sick call request. Id., ¶ 31. When he was not
called to the medical unit for several weeks, he submitted a
second request. Id., ¶ 32.
January 2018, a nurse told Whipper that she had put him on a
list to see Dr. Ruiz and did not understand why he had not
been called to the medical unit. Id., ¶ 33.
After 27 months of excruciating pain, Whipper filed a
grievance. Id., ¶ 34. He did not receive a
response for thirty days, at which ...