United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY
S. KRIEGER CHIEF JUDGE
MATTER comes before the court upon Defendants Donna
Guyett and Ricky Mercer's (the “State
Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment
(#62), Mr. Williams's Response
(#68), and the State Defendants' Reply
Williams' response, he states that he “will no
longer pursue claims against Mr. Mercer.” Thus, the
Court deems Mr. Williams to voluntarily dismiss all claims
against Mr. Mercer and the Court considers only the remaining
claims against Ms. Guyett.
Williams brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state
law, and the Court exercises jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 & 1367.
following facts are undisputed unless attributed otherwise,
and treated in the light most favorable to the non-moving
events underlying this case date to May 2015, when Mr.
Williams was incarcerated at the Colorado Department of
Corrections' (CDOC) Fremont Correctional Facility (FCF),
in Cañon City, Colorado. He was then 72 years old and
had Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and a
history of cardiac illness including bypass surgery in 2005,
a pacemaker, and multiple prior heart attacks. In this
lawsuit, he alleges that he suffered a series of transient
ischemic attacks (“TIA”s) or “warning
strokes, ” followed by an ischemic stroke (also known
as a cardiovascular accident or “CVA”), and that
he was denied timely medical treatment including transfer to
a hospital by the Defendants, all of whom were medical
providers at FCF.
12, 2015, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Mr. Williams walked
into the FCF medical clinic and was seen by Ricky Mercer, a
registered nurse employed by CDOC. Also present was Trudy
Sicotte, a nurse practitioner employed by CDOC contractor
Supplemental Health Care (“SHC”). Mr. Williams
reported that he had experienced dizziness and left arm
numbness beginning about fifteen minutes before, that his
cellmate had indicated his speech was slurred, and that he
was afraid he was having a stroke. Mr. Mercer examined Mr.
Williams, but observed no current or continuing symptoms. Mr.
Williams was told to return to the clinic later that day for
further evaluation. When he did so, he reported that was
still feeling dizzy but had not had further numbness or
slurred speech. Mr. Mercer evaluated Mr. Williams further,
then returned him to his cell with instructions to report new
or worsening symptoms to the medical clinic.
Williams returned to the clinic the next morning, May 13,
2015. He was seen by Roy D. Havens, a physicians'
assistant employed by SHC. Mr. Havens documented that Mr.
Williams had returned to the clinic “as a follow up
from an episode from what appears to be a TIA, ” but
was then “doing bet[t]er, ” and should be checked
again in about a week. Later that day, first responders were
called to Mr. Williams's cell and transported him back to
the clinic, where he was again seen by Mr. Mercer and Mr.
Havens. He reported that beginning around 3:00 p.m, “he
had begun having stroke symptoms again, ” including
left arm numbness, slurred speech, and difficulty walking.
Mr. Mercer kept him in the clinic for approximately 2 hours
for observation, during which time Mr. Mercer did not observe
further objective symptoms other than an increase in Mr.
Williams's blood pressure. Mr. Williams was returned to
his cell and directed to return the next day for
re-evaluation and possible referral for a carotid artery
ultrasound and pacemaker check.
Williams was returned by wheelchair to the clinic shortly
after 8:00 a.m. on May 14, 2015, reporting “symptoms of
a stroke.” He was examined by Jodi Johnson, who
observed that Mr. Williams had an unsteady gait and slight
left side limp, as well as weaker grip with his left hand,
but also that his vital signs were within normal limits and
he had no facial drooping. After consulting with the charge
nurse, Ms. Johnson had Mr. Williams wait in the clinic for a
“provider” to arrive, namely, Mr. Havens. Mr.
Havens arrived at approximately 9:26 a.m. and evaluated Mr.
Williams, charting he had “been seen many times for
similar symptoms of num[b]ness and weakness of the left arm
and slurred speech. He has been confused and his gait is
unsteady, [h]is vitals h[a]ve been stable. This a.m. he is
unable to use his left arm and his hand has no dexterity. I
will try to get him to [the hospital] today.”
Approximately two hours later, Mr. Havens saw and evaluated
Mr. Williams again, charting that he “has been seen
several times in the last few days and 3 times in the past 48
hours with symptoms of CVA or TIA. He has slurred speech
mental confusion and loss in use of his left arm and hand. He
has a pacemaker which he has had for several years. Last
pacer check is not known to the inmate but his chart shows it
was done in Jan. 2015. He is diabetic and is very poorly
controlled. I would like to get him evaluated.” Mr.
Havens also noted Mr. Williams should be seen at the hospital
for an ultrasound. He prepared an additional report at
approximately 12:31 p.m., repeating the same information and
noting his concern that Mr. Williams might have carotid
approximately 2:22 p.m., Defendant Donna Guyett, a CDOC
registered nurse, prepared an entry in Mr. Williams'
medical records recapping his earlier evaluations by Ms.
Johnson and Mr. Havens, and indicating that Mr. Havens had
given a verbal order for Mr. Williams to use a wheelchair.
Mr. Williams was again returned to his cell.
next day, at approximately 12:46 p.m., Ms. Guyett saw Mr.
Williams for re-evaluation. She noted he was experiencing
left-sided weakness and difficulty walking, had a facial
droop and was unable to move the left side of his face, had
been biting the inside of his mouth, was
“minimally” able to move his arm, was dragging
his left foot and slurring his words. Ms. Guyett arranged to
have Mr. Williams transported to a hospital by van. He
remained in the hospital for eleven days, until May 26, 2015.
Hospital discharge notes reflect that on admission he was not
considered a candidate for tissue plasminogen activator or
“tPA” - a medication that, if used promptly after
a stroke event, can reduce the extent of permanent damage --
“due to [the] length of time from event.” The
same records state that “a CT scan confirmed a [right
middle cerebral artery] embolic stroke with left-sided
residual, ” and hospital records dated May 21, 2015
note that Mr. ...