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Ongoing Incompetence by Disciplined Doctor Doesn't Establish Indifference

The plaintiff fell and broke his hip. A nurse concluded that he was merely bruised and didn't need to see a doctor. Three days later he saw a doctor at regular sick call who gave him an ace bandage for his knee and pain medications but didn't order an x-ray. At sick call two days later, 12 days later, and 14 days later, the doctor didn't order an x-ray. After 17 days, he was released, and his own doctor sent him for an x-ray.

The doctor's conduct amounted to no more than negligence, since there was no evidence that he recognized the plaintiff's need for an x-ray.

The fact that the doctor was primarily a pediatrician who had been sued five times for malpractice and had his staff privileges revoked at one hospital did not make the county liable for inadequate screening. He had a medical license and experience as a prison and an emergency room physician. There was no evidence of final adjudications on the merits of the malpractice cases. He said he was suspended from the hospital because of "chart delinquency." These facts do not show that it was plainly obvious he would misdiagnose the plaintiff's fracture.

The warden was not liable for failure to supervise because of his failure to present the doctor with written policies concerning medical treatment or his knowledge of incident reports which would have told him only that the plaintiff had fallen and continued to complain of pain. See: Bednar v. County of Schuylkill, 29 F.Supp.2d 250 (E.D.Pa. 1998).

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Related legal case

Bednar v. County of Schuylkill