Claimant seeks damages for injuries he allegedly sustained due to the State's
failure to properly treat an injury to his right knee while he was incarcerated
at Cape Vincent Correctional Facility (hereinafter CVCF). He testified that in
March 1999, he injured his right knee playing basketball. He sought medical
treatment at the facility infirmary on numerous occasions, but he was only
allowed to see the doctor twice. Claimant testified that once the doctor at
CVCF said there was nothing wrong with his knee, the nurses refused to schedule
another appointment for him with the doctor.
In January 2002, Claimant was transferred to Mid-State Correctional Facility.
The doctor from Mid-State sent him to a specialist in Syracuse, Dr. Smallman,
who performed arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Claimant did not know
what type of surgery he had, just that the doctor had to "go in and clean up a
lot of stuff."
As a result of his injury, Claimant said he suffers pain in his knee everyday.
He has not played basketball or run since his surgery. In his opinion, the
three-year delay in treatment has caused him to undergo unnecessary pain and
suffering before the surgery and has resulted in a loss of muscle mass and
on-going pain. He does not attribute any of his problems to the surgery that
was performed in Syracuse. Claimant can walk and climb stairs and has been able
to do so except for two weeks after surgery when he had to use crutches to
No other witnesses were called and no exhibits were offered. At the end of
Claimant's case, the State moved to dismiss on the basis that no medical proof
was offered to establish that the delay in treatment was related to the
basketball injury or the need for surgery. That motion is now granted.
Allegations that Defendant failed to timely and properly treat a medical
condition assert a claim of medical malpractice. To establish liability for
medical malpractice, the Court must have evidence to prove what Defendant did
wrong; that is how Defendant's treatment, or lack thereof, deviated from what is
considered appropriate medical care (
Pike v Honsinger,
155 NY 201; Bloom v City of New York,
In addition, there must be proof causally connecting Defendant's improper
treatment to Claimant's injuries (
see id.; Kennedy v Peninsula Hosp. Ctr.,
135 AD2d 788). In Claimant's
case, the Court cannot determine, without expert testimony, how Claimant's
injured knee should have been treated, what Defendant did wrong, and how
Defendant's failure caused Claimant's injury (see Mosberg v Elahi,
NY2d 941, 942). These matters are not within the common knowledge of the Court
as fact-finder but rather require specialized medical
Accordingly, the claim must be DISMISSED. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED