Claimant contends that defendant failed to provide him with pain medicine for
eight days after he sustained a fractured ankle at
Clinton Correctional Facility (hereinafter Clinton) in February
On February 21, 1998, claimant injured his right ankle while playing
basketball in the gym at Clinton. He was carried to the prison infirmary.
Claimant's ankle was wrapped with a bandage and he was given crutches and ice
packs. Claimant was sent back to his cell until February 23, when he was
brought back to the facility infirmary and an X ray was taken which revealed a
fracture. Claimant was examined by Dr. Lee, who placed a fiberglass splint on
claimant's leg and ankle and then sent him back to his cell.
Claimant testified that he remained in his cell for eight days on medical
keeplock, but that during such time he was not provided with any medicine for
the pain he was experiencing. On March 3, claimant was transferred to Coxsackie
Correctional Facility and two days later he was sent to Albany Medical Center,
where surgery was performed on his fractured ankle.
On cross-examination, claimant acknowledged that he was given Tylenol after he
injured his ankle. He was also offered Ibuprofen but refused to take it because
he has a problem with stomach ulcers. Claimant agreed that the injury occurred
on a Saturday. His leg was wrapped, ice was provided and he was told not to
place any weight on the leg. He was also informed that he would be brought to
see the doctor on Monday.
Nurse Lisa Babbie was called by defendant as a witness. Ms. Babbie stated
that the medical records reflected that claimant was brought to the infirmary on
February 21 and he was complaining of ankle and knee pain after he had twisted
his right leg playing basketball. His ankle was bandaged and he was given
crutches and excused from all activities. Claimant was given Tylenol and he
declined Ibuprofen. Since it was a weekend, claimant was scheduled to return
on Monday for X rays. Ms. Babbie stated that if a compound fracture or
angulation had been apparent, claimant would have been sent out for emergency
treatment and X rays. She related that the X ray taken of claimant on Monday,
February 23, revealed a non-displaced fracture. On cross-examination, Ms.
Babbie opined that Tylenol was a sufficient medicine for claimant's pain,
particularly when combined with the fact he was given ice and told to keep his
When the State provides medical care, it is held to the same standard of care
as private individuals and institutions engaging in the same activity (
Schrempf v State of New York
, 66 NY2d 289, 294). The duty imposed with
regard to medical care includes possessing and prudently exercising the level of
skill and expertise acceptable by a member of the profession practicing in this
State (see, Hoagland v Kamp
, 155 AD2d 148, 150; Littlejohn v State of
, 87 AD2d 951). Consistent with such standard, inmates are entitled
to reasonable and adequate medical care (Kagan v State of New York
AD2d 7, 11; Powlowski v Wullich
, 102 AD2d 575, 587). To establish a
claim premised upon improper medical care, a claimant must prove that there was
a departure from the accepted standard and that such departure was a proximate
cause of an injury (Amsler v Verrilli
, 119 AD2d 786; see, Brown v
State of New York
, 192 AD2d 936, lv denied
Here, no proof was presented from an expert indicating that the course of
treatment, including the treatment of claimant's pain, deviated from the
accepted standard of care. The court concludes that claimant failed to prove
his claim by a fair preponderance of the credible evidence.
The claim is dismissed and the Chief Clerk of the Court of Claims is directed
to enter judgment accordingly.