Judge Dale A. Kimball – Claims of cruel and unusual punishment – Motion for summary judgment denied
2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56283
MICHAEL GRANIERI, Plaintiff, v. BRUCE BURNHAM, M.D., ET AL., Defendants.
Judge Dale A. Kimball
August 9, 2006
Plaintiff, Michael Granieri, was an inmate at the Central Utah Correction Facility (“CUCF”) in Gunnison, Utah. In March 2002, he began having severe abdominal pains, along with diarrhea and vomiting, and was seen by the physicians, physicians assistants, and nursing staff at the facility’s infirmary. Plaintiff’s conditions continually worsened over the next six to eight weeks and he lost between twenty-five to thirty pounds before his condition was properly diagnosed. At one point, he was also prescribed a steroid-based medication that reportedly helped while he was taking it. However, after the medication was discontinued his symptoms returned.
On May 6, 2002, Plaintiff was transferred to the Draper facility and was treated at the facility’s infirmary. Plaintiff felt something burst inside his stomach. He called to the staff for help and was told to “shut up and leave us alone.” On May 8, 2002, Plaintiff was transported to the University of Utah Medical Center’s emergency room. Upon arrival, Plaintiff was diagnosed with peritonitis and a working diagnosis of a ruptured appendix. Plaintiff underwent surgery the next day. Plaintiff’s appendix was removed, twelve to eighteen inches of his intestines were removed, and a four inch section of his colon was removed. Plaintiff’s diagnosis was Crohn’s disease with secondary small bowel perforation. Plaintiff lost his distal ileum, which prevents him from absorbing bile salts and necessitates the need for cholestyramine, his terminal ileum will never “grow back,” and he has chronic diarrhea which will cause some degree of disability.
Plaintiff was discharged from the University of Utah Medical Center on May 20, 2002 to the Utah State Prison and returned to the CUCF on May 28, 2002. Plaintiff was prescribed Chlorestyramine and Pentasa and told to eat a bland diet to help with the Crohn’s disease. Plaintiff was also given literature about Crohn’s disease and dietary information. When he returned to CUCF, the doctors substituted Sulfasalazine for the Pentasa, the information on Crohn’s disease was taken away from him, and no special diet was allowed.
In denying Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the Judge noted: “In this case, defendants allowed Plaintiff’s condition to worsen over the course of six to eight weeks before sending him to the hospital. Plaintiff may also have suffered from vague symptoms but the medical staff knew that it was gastrointestinal. Given their failure to diagnose the problem, the delay in sending Plaintiff to the hospital was significant. And, in some instances, Plaintiff was denied access to the nurses and doctors at the prison. He was also told that his ailments were only in his head even though, at times, his condition caused him to curl up in a fetal position or lose consciousness. The day before he was taken to the hospital, and six to eight weeks after the symptoms began, Doctor Roberts claimed that Plaintiff was guarded and factitious.”