Jury awards Millinocket woman more than $200,000 for botched eye surgery

Posted June 13, 2014, at 6:57 p.m.
Last modified June 13, 2014, at 9:56 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Penobscot County jury has awarded a Millinocket woman more than $200,000 in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Bettey D. Oliver, 72, sued Vision Care of Maine and its owners, Dr. Craig W. Young and Dr. Curt T. Young, in 2010 in Penobscot County Superior Court over a botched cataract surgery a year earlier, her attorney, Stephen Wade of Auburn, said Wednesday.

The jury of seven women and two men deliberated for about 2½ hours June 6 at the Penobscot Judicial Center before delivering a verdict. Jurors awarded Oliver $42,363 in damages for medical bills, $50,000 for lost wages and benefits, and $130,000 for pain and suffering, Wade said.

Dr. Craig W. Young died in April 2013 at the age of 70, more than a year before the case came to trial, according to Daniel Rappaport, the Portland attorney who represented Vision Care and the ophthalmologists.

“We believe the care provided to Mrs. Oliver by the doctors and staff at Vision Care of Maine was appropriate, reasonable and well within the standard of care and we believe we presented considerable evidence, including from a highly reputable expert, to support our position,” Rappaport said in an email. “While we have the highest respect for the jury system for resolving civil disputes we disagree with the jury’s decision in this case.”

Oliver, who declined to be interviewed, suffered permanent damage to her left eye because of a detached retina as a result of the surgery, Wade said Wednesday.

“She is still able to work as a desk clerk at a Millinocket area motel,” the attorney said. “She has a good right eye but a bad left eye.”

Oliver has suffered a loss of depth perception in her left eye and her vision is blurry, according to Wade. Her peripheral vision has been affected so that “she cannot see people coming up on her left. She must turn her head.”

That has affected her ability to drive and maneuver.

“People can lose faith in the justice system in a case that takes a long time as medical malpractice cases sometimes do,” Wade said. “She really, really felt vindicated by this verdict.”

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