Claimant, an inmate appearing
, alleges negligence against the State for denying him proper and
adequate medical treatment.
A trial was held on this claim at Watertown Correctional Facility on October
30, 2000, at which time claimant was the sole witness.
Claimant testified that beginning in 1992, while he was incarcerated at Clinton
Correctional Facility, he experienced severe pain in his left ear. Although
given medication for this condition, claimant testified that he continued to
experience problems with his left ear, and continued to receive medication, up
to the early part of 1995, when he was transferred to Watertown Correctional
Facility. After his transfer to Watertown Correctional Facility, claimant was
again examined and was referred to Welch Medical Center in Rome, New York.
Claimant testified that a physician at this medical center recommended surgery
to correct his condition, but that the surgery was then denied by United Health
Care Group as not being medically necessary.
Claimant further testified that eventually, after numerous and continued
complaints, the surgery was performed on March 25, 1998 (subsequent to the date
of filing of this claim).
Following his testimony, claimant rested without providing any additional
evidence, and he produced no other witnesses.
To proceed upon a theory of medical malpractice, the burden is on claimant to
establish that the care and treatment afforded him by the State at the
correctional facility constituted a deviation from the applicable standard of
care, in that the medical personnel either did not possess, or did not use
reasonable care in the application of, the knowledge and skill ordinarily
possessed by practitioners in the field (Pike
, 155 NY
, 137 AD2d 309). There is nothing in the
record to support a finding that the medical personnel who treated claimant
either lacked a reasonable degree of learning and skill, or that they failed to
use reasonable care in examining and treating claimant.
The State has an obligation to provide ordinary and appropriate medical
treatment to inmates who are incarcerated in their institutions (
v City of New York
, 120 AD2d 562, affd
70 NY2d 839).
The only testimony before the Court was that of the claimant, who claimed that
the delay in surgery resulted in a deterioration of hearing in his left ear.
However, no expert medical testimony was presented to the Court to substantiate
claimant's assertions. Without expert medical testimony, the Court cannot find
that the treatment provided claimant was inadequate.
I therefore find and conclude that claimant has failed to establish his claim
by a preponderance of the credible evidence.
Accordingly, the State's motion to dismiss the claim, made at the close of the
claimant's proof, upon which decision was reserved, is now GRANTED and the claim
is hereby DISMISSED.
THE CHIEF CLERK IS DIRECTED TO ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.