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Prison doctor must face inmate suit as judge seeks counsel

June 13, 2018

A prison doctor must face a lawsuit from an inmate who claims the physician didn’t follow a surgeon’s orders for pain medication and physical therapy after the inmate’s back surgery. The judge in the case also said he would solicit counsel to represent the inmate going forward.

Dr. Paul Talbot was denied summary judgment Tuesday in Billy J. Lemond v. Paul Talbot et al, 2:17-cv-113. Talbot was working at Pendleton Correctional Facility in August 2015, after Lemond had undergone necessary lumbar surgery at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. Lemond’s neurosurgeon prescribed an opiate pain medication and physical therapy.

Lemond, now housed at Westville Correctional Facility, claims Talbot did not order the medication as prescribed, opting for a less effective treatment, and that he never ordered physical therapy, causing unnecessary pain and loss of mobility.

Judge William T. Lawrence wrote that Lemond had overcome summary judgment by presenting numerous disputed facts concerning his post-surgery care at Pendleton. Lawrence did grant summary judgment for co-defendant health service administrator Aleycia McCullough, who along with Talbot was employed by Corizon Correctional Health at the time of Lemond’s claimed injuries.

“Mr. Lemond argues that Dr. Talbot is liable to him because he took away the pain medication prescribed by the specialist who performed the surgery and ignored Mr. Lemond’s request for physical therapy to save Corizon money,” Lawrence wrote. “Mr. Lemond argues that it is not possible that Dr. Talbot did not know he was in pain because even a lay person knows that any human being that has their back cut open and the spine worked on and stapled back together is going to be in pain. In response, Dr. Talbot argues that he provided thoughtful and repeated evaluations of Mr. Lemond following his lumbar surgery and prescribed an appropriate course of treatment, which included adequate pain medications … and physical therapy when it was medically indicated.

“… The facts taken in the light most favorable to Mr. Lemond are that Dr. Talbot refused to take instructions from a specialist when he reduced the narcotic pain relief prescription from 30 days to 5 days; chose an easier and less effective course of treatment in regards to physical therapy; and inexplicably delayed treatment for both narcotic pain relievers and physical therapy,” the judge wrote. “Under these circumstances, Dr. Talbot is not entitled to summary judgment.”

“… The claims against Dr. Talbot shall be resolved through settlement or trial,” Lawrence wrote, while also granting Lemond’s motion for assistance recruiting counsel. “The Court will attempt to recruit counsel to assist the plaintiff in this action.”

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