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Illinois Prisoner Loses Medical Indifference and Malpractice Claims

by Ed Lyon

 On September 16, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuitissued an opinion affirming a district court’s summary judgment against Dennis Davis on his medical indifference and malpractice suit against prison doctor Francis Kayira.

Davis is in poor general health and requires dialysis regularly. He has had lightheadedness and weakness as part of the side effects of his dialysis.

On June 21, 2014, Davis experienced these symptoms after his dialysis. The nurse also observed slurred speech; nonreactive, pinpoint pupils; weak hand grasps and inability to understand — all stroke symptoms. The nurse called Kayira, but mentioned only Davis’ repetition of lightheadedness and weakness. She was told to admit Davis to the infirmary, monitor his condition and call Kayira if any negative changes to Davis’ condition occurred.

Davis’ condition steadily worsened, but no nurses called Kayira. On Monday, when Kayira returned to work, he checked Davis, diagnosed him as having had a stroke and had him hospitalized. Davis filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against Kayira for deliberate medical indifference with a pendant state claim for malpractice.

The district court entered summary judgment for Kayira, holding his medical orders were reasonable based upon the medical information provided to him by the nurse.

Davis had a supporting expert witness on the malpractice claim, but that doctor did not sign his statement and it was submitted too close to the court’s discovery deadline, so it was overruled by the magistrate.

Davis failed to object to the magistrate’s ruling, so the district judge adopted the magistrate’s ruling on the statement’s exclusion and entered summary judgment for Kayira on both claims.

Finding no error in the lower court’s summary judgment grants on the deliberate medical indifference and pendant malpractice claim, the panel unanimously affirmed.

See: Davis v. Kayira, Case No. 18-2456 (7th Cir. 2019)

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Related legal case

Davis v. Kayira