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Doctor’s Treatment of Prisoner's Chronic Kidney Failure Without Examination States A Claim

The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a state pro se prisoner's complaint holding that the facts alleged at this early stage may state a claim for medical deliberate indifference.

California state prisoner Jessie Watson filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint in 2006 alleging a prison nurse recommended that his "dry weight" be increased. The prison doctor ordered the increase without examining Watson after a prior prison doctor had ordered his course of treatment. Watson alleges the doctor's increase in treatment caused him to develop a hard cough and heart damage precluding him from a kidney transplant.

While the federal district court dismissed Watson's suit for failure to state a claim, on appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded holding that a "difference in medical opinion may amount to deliberate indifference if the prisoner shows that the course of treatment was medically unacceptable under the circumstance and defendants chose this course in conscious disregard of an excessive risk to health." See: Watson v. Veal, 302 Fed.Appx. 654, 2008 WL 5112089 (C.A.9 (Cal.)).

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Related legal case

Watson v. Veal