United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
HENRY J. STEELE, Plaintiff,
CLARENCE LEE FAULCON and PETER B. WOGLOM, Defendants.
C. FOX Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court on Defendants' motions for
summary judgment' [DE-53, -105]. For the following
reasons, Defendants' motions are ALLOWED.
Statement of the Case
December 1,2014[1" name="FN1" id=
"FN1">1], Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 198');">83, alleging that Defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs [DE-1].
Plaintiffs complaint survived frivolity review, and the Clerk
of Court was directed to continue management of Plaintiffs
Donald Mobley and Caroline Taylor filed a motion to
dismiss Plaintiffs claims against them, and it was allowed on
August 30, 2016 [DE-94]. On February 29, 2016, this court
allowed Plaintiffs motion to amend his complaint, and the
Clerk of Court was directed to add Defendant Woglom to this
action [DE-45], Defendants Faulcon and Woglom filed separate
motions for summary judgment on March 23, 2016 and November
15,2016, respectively [DE-53, -105]. Plaintiff has responded
to both motions [DE-65, -116], and both Defendants have
replied [DE-71, -120]. In this posture, these matters are
ripe for adjudication.
Statement of the Facts
remaining claims, Plaintiff alleges that while he was
incarcerated at Bertie Correctional Institution
("Bertie"), Defendants Faulcon and Woglom were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. In
particular, Plaintiff contends that he has been denied
medication necessary to control his hypertension. Compl.
[DE-8');">8], p. 3; Am. Compl. [DE-18');">8-1], p. 1. Plaintiff also
contends that Defendant Woglom has failed to examine him
despite Plaintiffs frequent complaints about numerous chronic
health conditions. Am. Compl. [DE-18');">8], pp. 1-2.
Woglom is a licensed physician's assistant who, during
the time period relevant to Plaintiffs complaint, was
employed by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
("DPS"). Woglom Aff. [DE-107-1] ¶ 2. Defendant
Woglom provided care for Plaintiff between August 27,2014,
the date of Plaintiff s arrival at Bertie, until June
11,2015, when Defendant Woglom assumed different duties
within DPS. Id. ¶ 5.
was examined by a nurse on September 2, 2014 and requested
the renewal of health restrictions that were in place prior
to his transfer to Bertie. Id. ¶ 8');">8. He also
complained of a mass in his throat and sought further
examination by a physician or a physician's assistant.
Id. During the examination, Plaintiff stated that he
was steadily losing weight. Id. Plaintiffs vital
signs were normal, but the nurse noted that Plaintiff had
lost sixteen pounds since his last examination. Id.
Plaintiff was advised that his health restrictions were still
active, and his other health concerns would be referred to a
physician's assistant for review. Id.
Woglom reviewed Plaintiffs medical chart on September 5,
2014. Id. ¶ 9. Defendant Woglom renewed several
of Plaintiff s prescriptions. Id. However, Defendant
Woglom declined to renew Plaintiffs prescriptions for
treating hemorrhoids because Plaintiff no longer had any
complaints with regard to that condition. Id.
Likewise, Defendant Woglom declined to renew several
medications because they had not yet expired. Id.
Finally, Defendant Woglom took steps to ensure that
Plaintiffs throat mass would be examined by an ear, nose, and
throat ("ENT") specialist. Id. The ENT
consultation was approved on September 15, 2014 and scheduled
for October 2, 2014. Id. ¶ 10.
October 1, 2014, Defendant Woglom changed Plaintiffs
prescription for a nasal allergy spray from Flunisolide to
triamcinolone, based on a DPS policy decision to phase out
Flunisolide. Id ¶ 11.
was examined by an ENT physician on October 2, 2014.
Id. ¶ 12. The ENT performed a scope examination
of Plaintiff s throat, which revealed pashremcoid edema
consistent with acid reflux. Id. Plaintiff was
prescribed a medication to reduce his acid reflux, and a
mouthwash to control his throat discomfort. Id.
Finally, the ENT physician recommended Plaintiff undergo a CT
scan of his neck and return for a follow-up afterward.
Id. Defendant Woglom reviewed the notes from
Plaintiffs ENT consultation and entered the appropriate
orders to ensure that Plaintiff received the prescribed
medication. Id, ¶ 13. Defendant Woglom also
entered an order requesting a CT scan of Plaintiff s neck.
Id. ¶ 14. This request was approved, and
Plaintiff was scheduled for a CT scan on October 30,2014.
October 14, 2014, Plaintiff was examined by a nurse in
response to his complaints of back pain and numbness in his
right leg and hand. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff also
requested further adjustment to his health restrictions and
the renewal of various prescriptions. Id. In
addition, Plaintiff voiced a general concern that his medical
needs were being overlooked and that Nash was not properly
equipped to care for him. Id. Upon examination,
Plaintiffs vital signs were normal and he was asymptomatic.
Id. Based on Plaintiffs complaints, the nurse
referred him to a DPS physician. Id. The examining
nurse also offered Plaintiff pain medication for his back,
but Plaintiff declined the medication. Id.
Woglom examined Plaintiff again on October 22,2014.
Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff was in no apparent
distress, his neck had a normal range of motion, and his
head, ears, throat, lungs and heart were normal. Id.
He was diagnosed with chronic back pain and a history of a
gunshot wound with associated neuropathy of his right lower
extremity. Id. Following this examination, Defendant
Woglom renewed Plaintiffs expired prescriptions. Id.
Defendant Woglom also did the following: (1) ordered an x-ray
of Plaintiff s spine; (2) prescribed an oral analgesic for
Plaintiffs throat pain; (3) ordered routine monitoring of
Plaintiff s blood pressure; and (4) ordered various
diagnostic tests, including a complete metabolic panel and an
erythrocyte sedimentation rate test. Id. The results
of the diagnostic tests ordered by Defendant Woglom arrived
on November 5, 2014. Id. With the exception of