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Bodway v. Hastings

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

February 15, 2018

SUSAN HASTINGS, M.D., et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court upon review of the complaint filed by plaintiff Louis Sean Bodway, an inmate at the St. Louis County Justice Center. For the reasons explained below, defendants Julia Childress, Ms. Jane Doe, and John Doe will be severed from this action, and the claims against them will be dismissed. In addition, plaintiff's claims against Susan Hastings and Jane Doe Bella will be dismissed.


         Plaintiff initiated this action on October 20, 2017 by filing a civil complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Susan Hastings, M.D., Jane Doe Bella, M.D., Julia Childress, Jane Doe, and John Doe. He expressly stated that he intended to sue all defendants in an individual capacity only. He sought and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and the Court conducted initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         Upon initial review, the Court noted that plaintiff alleged claims against some defendants based upon events that occurred in 2017, and additional claims against other defendants based upon unrelated events that occurred in 2014. Recognizing that leave to amend should be freely given when justice so requires, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), the Court gave plaintiff the opportunity to submit an amended complaint, clearly explaining his options under Rules 18 and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docket No. 6/filed December 11, 2017). The Court also clearly explained that plaintiff was required to allege how each named defendant was directly involved in and personally responsible for violating his constitutional rights, and also that if he wished to name “Doe” defendants, he was required to allege sufficient facts so they could be identified following reasonable discovery. The Court also waived the initial partial filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).

         In response, plaintiff filed a document titled “Acknowledgement and Objection to Order and Memo of 12/11/17, ” stating that he would not file an amended complaint. (Docket No. 7). Plaintiff interpreted the Court's order as telling him that he “did [his] § 1983 wrong. We knew you would because its clear to this Court that you don't know what you are doing . . . Here are new § 1983 forms. Do, again, that which you did wrong. Only this time, do it right. Never mind your motions for injunctive relief and appointment of counsel.” Id. at 3-4.[1] Plaintiff also complains about a lack of resources at the jail's library, among other things. He writes that the Court should have instead granted him injunctive relief or granted his motion for appointment of counsel, and he asks the Court to do so now.

         The Complaint

         The allegations in the complaint were briefly summarized in this Court's December 11, 2017 Memorandum and Order. However, the Court will now summarize them more fully.

         According to the complaint, plaintiff suffers from numerous health problems. These include a rod and screws in his left leg with an open wound above one of the screws, a prosthetic heart valve, kidney problems, hepatitis C, and pain due to back problems and past burns.

         Counts I and II allege denial of medical care, and concern events that occurred in September of 2017. In Count I, plaintiff alleges that Dr. Hastings cultured a wound on his leg to determine whether it was infected. He alleges that Dr. Hastings did so even though he told her it was a waste of time and money because he knew he had a MRSA staph infection, and “all she needed to do was contact [St. Louis University Hospital] and they would verify this and tell her what antibiotics to use as they were aware of the infection because I had left [St. Louis University Hospital] Against Medical Advice.” (Docket No. 1, Attch. 1, p. 4).

         Plaintiff then saw Dr. Hastings for a return visit, and she told him that lab testing had revealed a MRSA staph infection. She said she was not going to “run a bunch of antibiotics through your body ‘cause that would just be a waste of money. Besides, its been that way for months. But we'll keep an eye on it and I'll discharge you from the infirmary today.” Id. at 6. She prescribed a nutritional supplement to give plaintiff's body strength to fight the infection.

         Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Hastings should have treated him with intravenous Vancomycin “because every time I'm in a hospital with real doctors who actually treat their patients and I have an active MRSA infection, I.V. Vancomycin is what they always treat me with. It is expensive and to treat me with it would be counterproductive to Dr. Hastings' ‘Mammon Crusade, ' thus her refusal to treat my infection.” Id. at 6-7. Plaintiff states that, by not curing his infection, she is putting him at risk of endocarditis and jeopardizing his life. He also states that the surgeon who placed the rod and screws in his leg told him that he required antibiotics. Finally, plaintiff alleges that Dr. Hastings offered him acetaminophen and ibuprofen for his pain, and that this amounted to gross negligence and callous indifference because every physician knows acetaminophen should not be given to a person with Hepatitis C.

         In Count II, plaintiff alleges that Dr. Hastings refused to give him Oxycontin and Vicoprofen, even though he was in pain and had been prescribed those medicines when he was previously incarcerated at the jail. Plaintiff spoke to a nurse about this, and the nurse called Dr. Bella. However, Dr. Bella said that plaintiff could have ibuprofen, even though she knew he had been on kidney dialysis. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Bella did this to make him suffer, and she was therefore sadistic and malicious and had violated his Eighth Amendment rights.

         Count III concerns events that occurred in September of 2014. Plaintiff was in the infirmary, and he asked defendant Jane Doe, who plaintiff identifies only as “a passing nurse, ” to take him to the dentist. Id. at 12. Doe replied that plaintiff needed to fill out a dental request form. Plaintiff voiced disagreement, but did so anyway. Six weeks later he was still in pain, and when he finally saw a dentist, his tooth was infected and had to be ...

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