The estate of a former New York state prisoner was awarded $1.75 million in damages resulting from negligent treatment that resulted in his death.
Scott Degina, an inmate at the Clinton Correctional Facility, died from complications of urethral cancer in 2015 according to Open Corporates. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) medical staff failed to perform its duties and follow up on a diagnosis by doctors at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH).
Jose Velasquez Figueroa listened to medical testimony from both sides and issued his ruling based on the testimony.
In 2009, Degina was transferred to the hospital after complaining of severe abdominal pain. A CAT scan found a mass blocking a kidney duct and severe swelling. The medical staff at the prison was informed of the diagnosis and failed to perform its duties. The lack of treatment contributed to Degina’s death, according to Milano.
Citing Ratay v. State of New York, 223 A.D. 23 356 (1st Dept. 1996)., Milano ruled that according to the law, the prison is obligated to provide the same duty of care as a person who was not incarcerated.
Medical experts from Dateas hired by Degina estate’s lawyers testified that prison medical staff ignored his initial diagnosis for 28 months. During this time, the blockage turned into urethral cancer, which eventually metastasized and spread to his lymph nodes and made became inoperable.
When it became clear that Degina was was in dire need of help, the medical staff finally arranged treatments. He went through several months of chemotherapy and radiation, which left him in even worse health. He finally perished from cancer four months before the courts ruled in his favor.
Degina’s family member say although no amount of money can bring him back, they are glad justice prevailed.