Petties v. Carter, No. 14-2674 (7th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Illinois prisoner Petties was climbing stairs when he felt a “pop” and extreme pain in his left ankle. At the prison infirmary, the examining physician prescribed Vicodin and crutches and a week of “meals lay-in.” The medical director, Dr. Carter, noted in the file that Petties had suffered an “Achilles tendon rupture” and modified the instructions, directing that Petties be scheduled for an MRI and examination by an orthopedist as an “urgent” matter. Prison lockdowns resulted in cancelation of three appointments. Eight weeks passed before he received an orthopedic boot. Petties claimed that more than a year later, he still experienced “serious pain, soreness, and stiffness” in his ankle. Petties argued that Carter was deliberately indifferent by failing to immobilize his ankle with a boot or cast immediately and that a physician he saw later was deliberately indifference in not ordering physical therapy despite a recommendation. The court granted the doctors summary judgment, reasoning that waiting before immobilizing Petties’s ankle could not have constituted deliberate indifference because several physicians held different opinions and that a jury could not reasonably find that rejection of the recommendation for physical therapy constituted deliberate indifference. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. A jury could not reasonably find that the treatment of Petties’s ankle rose to the level of a constitutional violation.