St. Louis Record

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Appeals court upholds judgment against inmate who sued nurses for withholding multiple sclerosis treatment


By Claudia Balthazar | Dec 11, 2018

Jail Cells | Wikimedia/William Warby

CAPE GIRARDEAU — An appeals court upheld a summary judgement granted in favor of medical practitioners who were sued by a prison inmate after they stopped giving him multiple sclerosis medication due to side effects.

Timothy Barr, a Missouri Department of Corrections inmate, was diagnosed with MS on May 21, 2014 by neurologist Sudhir Batchu and began receiving Avonex injections on June 10 of that year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit noted. Doctors gave him his regular injections up until Oct. 10, 2014 following his complaints about negative side effects.

The case noted that nurse Dana Degens, a defendant in the case, reported that Barr said the “side effects [were] getting the best of [him]” and he refused his Avonex injection. Meanwhile, nurse practitioner Nina Hill, another defendant in the case, made data entries of Barr speaking with her about refusing Avonex where she referred him to mental health professionals because of depression caused by his MS diagnosis.

After meeting with Hill, Barr talked to a few other people that reported that he said he felt much better when he was not taking Avonex. He was prescribed Aspirin instead.

Barr sued because the Eighth Amendment states that inmates should be provided with adequate medical care. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Cape Girardeau decided that the defendants did not violate the Eighth Amendment, and the appeals court agreed.

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