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New York Prisoner Paid $1.25 Million for Untreated Glaucoma

On October 4, 2005, prisoner Abraham Mitchell settled his claim against the State of New York for $1,250,000. Mitchell had claimed in his lawsuit, filed in the Albany Court of Claims, that the New York Department of Correctional Services was responsible for his near total vision loss because they failed to treat his glaucoma for five years.

Mitchell, 29, was examined by an optometrist on January 4, 1995, while imprisoned at the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility. The doctor found that Mitchell had above normal intraocular pressure in both eyes and that it was deforming his optic nerves. He diagnosed Mitchell with glaucoma and determined that further evaluation was necessary.  Mitchell was not seen again until January 1, 2000. By that time permanent damage had already been done. Mitchell now suffers from a total loss of vision in his right eye and 90% vision loss in his left. He is legally blind.

Mitchell sued the State of New York claiming the prison's medical staff ignored his repeated requests for a follow-up examination and further treatment. He also contended they were aware of his deteriorating vision yet took no corrective action. Mitchell's expert optometrist, Dr. Stanley Berke of Lynbrook, New York, opined that timely treatment would have prevented nearly all of his vision loss.

The case settled several hours before the start of trial for $1.25 million, which included all costs and fees. Mitchell was represented by Anthony C. Ofodile of Brooklyn-based Ofodile & Associates, P.C. See: Mitchell v. The State of New York, Albany Court of Claims, Case No. 103000.

Source: Verdict Search New York

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Related legal case

Mitchell v. The State of New York