This is the claim of Thomas Devine, which was tried at Sullivan Correctional
Facility, where Mr. Devine testified on his own behalf. Defendant called two
Woodbourne Correctional Facility nurses, Margaret Lindsley and Becky Reddish.
Devine alleges that he suffered a stroke on February 10, 2001, and asserts that
he was not treated properly because he was not seen by a doctor and sent for
outside medical treatment until almost three weeks later.
Claimant testified that on February 10, 2001, he had what he characterized as a
"stroke," upon which he went to Woodbourne sick call. He described his symptoms
as unclear speech, "messed up" eyes and numbness. His "Ambulatory Health
Record" for that day indicates that "[inmate complains of left] side of face
distorted slightly" and "no [complaint of] any pain or headache." The record
for that day continues with a notation that Devine complained of sinus problems
and said he had taken medication for such problems prior to his visit to sick
call. The record also indicates that an appointment with a doctor was scheduled
for claimant for March 1, 2001. See claimant's exhibit 1.
Devine recalled that he returned to sick call on February 12
th and was told he would see a doctor on March 1st. He said that on the 12th,
his face looked normal and he felt better; his health record for February 12th
states as much. Id
. A subsequent medical record for February 28, 2001
contains the following notation: "[inmate complains of] feeling dizzy . . .
ambulates gait steady . . states ‘I'm fine'. . . I can go to work." See
claimant's exhibit 2.
Claimant testified that on March 1st, he finally saw a doctor, who sent him to
Albany Medical Center for treatment, where he was prescribed certain medications
in connection with having suffered a stroke. According to claimant, when he
returned to Woodbourne, the medication was "changed"; he did not elaborate. He
also complained that he was supposed to return for follow-up care at Albany
Medical Center, but Woodbourne did not send him.
Devine's Woodbourne medical record for March 1, 2001 indicates, among other
things, that he had a "loss of left lateral extraocular muscle movement [with]
flattening of [nasolabial] fold . . . suspect he has had a CVA [stroke]."
. A "NYSDOCS Request & Report of Consultation" to Albany Medical
Center contains the following, prepared by Woodbourne medical personnel: "First
came to [nurse's] attention on 2/10/01 when he presented [with] numbness [on the
left] side of face & ‘distortion' of [left] side – has waxed
& waned since then; has hypertension; also has inability for [left] lateral
gaze & has [left] nasolabial fold blunting." See claimant's exhibit 3. The
"After Care Instructions" provided from Albany Medical Center state that "[y]our
diagnosis today is: stroke." See claimant's exhibit 5.
In short, Devine asserts that defendant was "deliberately indifferent" to his
needs in not having him see a doctor until March 1, 2001.
* * *
Both nurses, Margaret Lindsley and Becky Reddish, essentially testified that
when claimant came to sick call on the days prior to March 1, 2001, they did not
believe that he had suffered a stroke, although they noted that he was scheduled
to see a doctor in connection with the symptoms of which he complained.
testified that she had seen patients with stroke symptoms prior to seeing
claimant on February 10, 2001. She described the symptoms of stroke as
confusion, agitation, "uptightness," nervousness, slurred speech, and drooping
of the face. She said that if such symptoms were present, a doctor would be
called immediately; in claimant's case, she did not find it necessary; Lindsley
stated that if claimant had suffered a stroke on February 10, 2001, he would
have shown "more" symptoms.
Nurse Becky Reddish testified that she was working at Woodbourne on February
12, 2001 and recalled seeing claimant on that date as well as on February
th. She also testified that she had seen numerous patients who had suffered
strokes and that they generally suffered weakness on one side, and had anxiety
and a "sense of doom." According to Reddish, claimant manifested no such
symptoms when she saw him.
In order for Devine to prevail in this case, he would have to present expert
testimony that accepted standards of medical care were not met. See, e.g.,
Lyons v McCauley
, 252 AD2d 516, 675 NYS2d 375 (2d Dept 1998), lv
92 NY2d 814, 681 NYS2d 475 (1998). In this case, even assuming that
he suffered a stroke on February 10, 2001, claimant presented no medical expert
to testify as to the results of him not being seen by a doctor until March 1,
2001 and to testify that accepted standards of medical care were not met. As to
his contention that he was not returned to Albany Medical Center, such
facility's After Care Instructions state that claimant was to return if certain
symptoms occurred, but he was to "[o]therwise follow up with [the] prison
doctor." See claimant's exhibit 5. No testimony was elicited as to any
symptoms claimant suffered thereafter. In view of the foregoing, claim no.
104169 is dismissed.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY