Pamela Cameron of Moore, O’Brien & Foti (handout)
A 62-year-old Woodbury woman who claimed an eye clinic was late in diagnosing her glaucoma, which caused partial blindness, was awarded $2.2 million by a jury.
The six-person Waterbury Superior Court jury reached the verdict in favor of Corrine Mirabilio after three hours of deliberations on March 23, according to Pam Cameron, Mirabilio’s attorney. The award will jump to $2.6 million after an offer of compromise interest takes effect.
The 31-page lawsuit, filed in November 2014, claimed that Waterbury-based Opticare Eye Health Centers Inc. failed on five occasions during six years to do an automated perimetry visual field test.
That test would have shown her client had normal tension glaucoma, said Cameron of Moore, O’Brien & Foti. A visual field test, which confirmed the glaucoma, was finally performed by Opticare in November 2013.
Experts during the three-week trial testified that the clinic had a responsibility to conduct those field tests.
“Both of my experts testified that she had glaucoma before 2005, before she went to Opticare,” Cameron said. Those experts, New York and Colorado ophthalmologist Dr. Andrew Dahl and Meriden-based ophthalmologist Timothea Ryan said “there should have been visual tests done beginning in 2005 and every visit thereafter to rule out glaucoma,” Cameron added.
Ryan is Mirabilio’s current ophthalmologist.
The lawsuit states the eye clinic failed to recognize the progression of optic nerve cupping in Mirabilio’s eyes; failed to order proper diagnostic tests; and failed to diagnose her glaucoma in a timely manner.
Cameron added the experts needed to describe the symptoms, progression and diagnosis of glaucoma in layman’s terms so the one-man, five-woman jury could understand what happened with Mirabilio.
Mirabilio “may be completely blind at some time in her life,” Cameron said. “Right now, she is not legally blind. She can only drive, though, in a limited way. She can only drive in her neighborhood and only with no one in the car. There can be no radio and no conversation and she can’t drive at night. She does have areas of blindness in both eyes.”
Cameron said she made a $750,000 settlement offer in April 2016, but Opticare attorneys never responded. “They made no offer ever, they never offered a penny,” Cameron said. “They gave me no choice but to get a verdict in this case.”
Cameron said she expects Opticare attorneys to ask Superior Court Judge Barbara Brazzel-Massaro to set aside the verdict. If the judge declines, Opticare could appeal to the Appellate Court. No money will be dispersed until all legal avenues are exhausted.
Opticare was represented by Richard O’Connor of Southbury-based Sachnar & O’Connor. O’Connor wasn’t available for comment Wednesday.