September 21, 2019
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Jury awards Maine man $2 million after botched hand surgery

A jury on Friday unanimously awarded a Greenbush man $2 million in his medical malpractice lawsuit against a Bangor hand surgeon and Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Robbie M. Nason, 49, broke his right wrist on July 17, 2013, when a kayak fell on him while he was working at Old Town Canoe, according to a press release issued by his attorneys, Jodi Nofsinger and Susan Faunce of Berman & Simmons in Lewiston.

A few months later, Dr. Timothy Pruchnic, a hand surgeon at EMMC, performed surgery on Nason’s hand, the release said.

Nason sued the doctor and the Bangor hospital in 2015 in Penobscot County Superior Court alleging that Pruchnic failed to properly insert a screw in Nason’s hand during that surgery.

As a result of Pruchnic’s negligence, Nason required three follow-up surgeries by a different doctor, according to Nofsinger. Nason had worked as a boat builder at Old Town Canoe since 1989 and “was passionate” about his work, she said Monday.

“Mr. Nason has restrictions on using his right hand, which is his dominant hand,” Nofsinger said. “He doesn’t use his right hand at work now but he is still working at Old Town Canoe.”

Nason sought damages that included loss of income, permanent disfigurement and impairment.

After four days of testimony, the nine-member jury deliberated for about two hours and found that Pruchnic’s negligence injured Nason and he was entitled to damages, according to the verdict form.

An attorney for Pruchnic and the hospital said his clients “were disappointed in the result.”

“Both Dr. Pruchnic and EMMC felt that Mr. Nason was provided good medical care in the course of treating a fracture which can be very difficult to resolve,” Bangor attorney Edward Gould of Gross, Minksy & Mogul said Monday in an email. “Each side presented expert testimony from surgeons who chair the orthopedic hand surgery departments at major medical centers in the Boston area.

“Both respect each other’s opinions, but, as can sometimes be the case in medicine, they had differing opinions regarding how to address this difficult fracture,” the attorney said. “Clearly the jury accepted the testimony of Mr. Nason’s expert witness in reaching their verdict.”

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