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Hanson v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 31, 2015



B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Scott Lossman, M.D., April Lawson, M.D., and Myung Song, D.O. (collectively, the "Corizon Defendants"). (Dkt. 47). Additionally, defendant Rona Siegert has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 53). Siegert and the Corizon Defendants are the only remaining defendants in this action. Plaintiff Scott Hanson has not opposed either motion. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant both motions.


Plaintiff Scott Hanson is an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Corrections. Relevant to this action, he was incarcerated in IDOC facilities for around four months in 2009 (April 2, 2009 and August 11, 2009). He was released in August 2009, but reentered prison in February 2010. Upon reentry, Hanson was housed in IDOC facilities in Kuna, Idaho (ISCI and SICI). He remained in one of these two facilities until February 7, 2012, when he was transferred to a private prison.

A. Hanson's Medical Care Leading to Surgery

Hanson complains that he received constitutionally deficient care in the diagnosis and treatment of his prostate cancer. He says he began experiencing difficulty urinating "as far back as 2009...." Compl., Dkt. 3, ¶ 16. He was prescribed medications, id., but his prostate-specific antigens (PSA) levels registered as "normal" as of April 2009. Siegert Aff., Dkt. 53-4, ¶ 6.

Shortly after he reentered prison in February 2010, Hanson's medical condition was again assessed. Based on his complaint of urinary difficulties, a physician's assistant ordered that Hanson's prostate-specific antigens (PSA) be checked again. The test results showed elevated PSA levels, which resulted in a medication order (Flomax) as well as an order that Hanson's PSA levels be rechecked in June 2010.

Hanson's PSA levels were retested on July 8, 2010, and again showed elevated levels. Roughly three weeks later, on July 30, 2010, Hanson was taken to an offsite urologist, Dr. William Fredriksson, for a consultation. At this consultation, Dr. Fredriksson recommended an ultrasound and a biopsy. He performed those procedures on September 3, 2010 and recommended a follow-up visit to go over the biopsy results. See Sept. 3, 2010 Consultation Report, Dkt. 47-10 at ISCI 210.

Dr. Dawson reviewed the biopsy report with Hanson on September 14, 2010, and immediately arranged for an October 8, 2010 follow-up visit with Dr. Fredriksson. During this visit, Dr. Fredriksson spent 45 minutes discussing treatment options with Hanson, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and "watchful waiting." Oct. 8, 2010 Progress Note, Dkt. 47-10 at ISCI 206. Dr. Fredriksson suggested that Hanson "take time to make an informed decision about his treatment...." and further recommended that Hanson see two other specialists - Dr. Tim Sawyer, who is a radiation oncologist, and Dr. Helen Kuo, a urologist who performs robotic prostatectomies. Id.

Hanson saw Dr. Sawyer and Dr. Kuo on November 18, 2010. Dr. Kuo advised that most prostate cancers are slow-growing and that Hanson's cancer was "likely organ-confined." See Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts ("SOF"), Dkt. 47-2 ¶ 9; Dawson Aff. ¶ 20. She recommended that Hanson decide on his treatment option within the next several weeks. Dr. Sawyer, on the other hand, believed surgery was an excellent option and advised against watchful waiting. Dr. Sawyer further observed that Hanson was taking some time to consider his options, and that Hanson wished to get his sister's input before selecting a treatment.

On December 7, 2010, Dr. Dawson met with Hanson to discuss his treatment options. SOF ¶ 10. At that time, Hanson said he had decided on having surgery. On January 4, 2011, Hanson had a surgical evaluation with Dr. Waldmann, of the Idaho Urologic Institute, who recommended a prostatectomy. Dr. Dawson thus requested a surgery consultation, and Hanson had surgery on January 31, 2011.

C. Post-Surgery Medical Care

After surgery, Hanson was discharged in good condition, with orders of pain medication and a bottom bunk memo. Following surgery, Hanson at times experienced urinary difficulties, including nocturia (urinating at night), dribbling, decreased stream, and pain. The uncontroverted facts show that his medical care providers consistently responded to these complaints. Among other things, Hanson received infirmary care, pain medications, multiple assessments by different providers, including two follow-up visits with his surgeon, Dr. Waldmann, and prescriptions to help penile function return: Cialis and use of a vacuum erection pump (a penis pump).


Summary judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to any claim or defense, "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims...." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). It is "not a disfavored procedural shortcut, " but is instead the "principal tool[ ] by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be a genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact "that may affect the outcome of the case." Id. at 248. The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility findings. Id. at 255. Direct ...

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