Claimant seeks damages for the alleged inadequate medical treatment she
received during her incarceration at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
(Bedford) from 2004 to 2005.
Claimant testified that, prior to her incarceration at Bedford, she was
detained at Rikers Island Facility (Rikers) and an MRI revealed a mass on her
ovary. Claimant contends that, despite her constant complaints to the Bedford
doctor of pain and bleeding, she did not receive adequate medical treatment.
She conceded that she was sent to outside facilities for additional MRI’s,
however, due to her weight of more than 300 pounds, the tests could not be
conducted because the machines could not accommodate her size. Claimant
maintains that she continued to hemorrhage throughout her incarceration and
that she never received any medical treatment.
Claimant did not present any medical records in support of her claim, nor did
she present the testimony of a medical expert.
It is well settled that the State owes a duty of ordinary care to provide its
charges with adequate medical care (see Mullally v State of New
York, 289 AD2d 308; Kagan v State of New York, 221 AD2d 7, 8). To
prove that the State failed in its duty and committed malpractice, claimant must
establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the State departed from good
and accepted standards of care and that such departure was a substantial factor
or proximate cause of the alleged injury (see Mullally v State of New
York, supra; Kaminsky v State of New York, 265 AD2d 306). A
departure from good and accepted medical practice cannot be inferred from expert
testimony; rather the expert must expressly state, with a degree of medical
certainty, that defendant’s conduct constitutes a deviation from the
requisite standard of care (see Stuart v Ellis Hosp., 198 AD2d
559; Sohn v Sand, 180 AD2d 789; Salzman v Alan S. Rosell, D.D.S.,
P.C., 129 AD2d 833). Claimant must also prove, inter alia, that his
“injuries proximately resulted from the defendant’s departure from
the required standard of performance” (Tonetti v Peekskill Community
Hosp., 148 AD2d 525).
Significantly, claimant failed to present any competent medical evidence,
either from a treating physician or from an expert whose opinion was based upon
claimant’s medical records, to support her allegations of medical
malpractice. Claimant’s own unsubstantiated assertions are insufficient
to establish merit and a prima facie case (see Wells v State of New
York, 228 AD2d 581; Mosberg v Elahi, 176 AD2d 710, affd 80
NY2d 941; Quigley v Jabbur, 124 AD2d 398). “Moreover, even
assuming improper delay in providing treatment, it was incumbent upon claimant
to show by competent expert evidence that the delay was a cause of [her] alleged
ensuing medical problems” (Trottie v State of New York, 39 AD3d
1094). The evidence is inconclusive and purely speculative as to whether such
conduct, even if negligent, was a proximate cause of claimant’s condition
(see Naughton v Arden Hill Hosp., 215 AD2d 810 [even assuming
defendant committed malpractice in its failure to diagnose and admit patient to
hospital, there was no proof of proximate cause, i.e., that, had the patient
been admitted, the risk of a heart attack would have been prevented or
lessened]; Brown v State of New York, 192 AD2d 936 [no proof that delay
in treatment contributed to the loss of claimant’s larynx]).
Defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to present a prima facie case
is now GRANTED.
ACCORDINGLY, LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 110895.