AUGUSTA (AP) - A Kennebec County jury has returned a medical malpractice verdict totaling nearly $643,000 in favor of a former Rumford police officer in a botched surgery that left him with a permanently swollen and painful leg.
Eric Richard, 41, of Mexico sued Dr. Eric Omsberg, a Waterville neurosurgeon, for negligence for severing a main vein during a 1999 operation and for failing to prescribe a needed blood thinner following the surgery.
The jury split 8-1 this month in Richard's favor, awarding him $78,000 for past medical expenses, $170,000 for future medical expenses, $46,000 for lost earnings and $350,000 for "pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life."
Omsberg's lawyer, Christopher Nyhan, said the vein injury was a known risk and that he plans to view the trial testimony before deciding whether to file an appeal.
"We're both very disappointed in the verdict. This was technically challenging surgery that helped (Richard's) condition," Nyhan said.
Jodi Nofsinger, Richard's attorney, said that both the injury and the failure to give blood thinner were malpractice.
"The jury found that what Dr. Omsberg did was negligent," Nofsinger said. "He cut into a major vein that came out of (Richard's) leg. It's the size of your thumb."
Richard had the vein repaired at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts four months after the surgery, his lawyer said.
Richard, a heavy equipment operator prior to attending the Criminal Justice Academy, had been a full-time Rumford police officer when he underwent the surgery.
"He is able to work now," Nofsinger said. "He works 3/4-time as a dispatcher for Rumford Police Department. He can't be a patrol officer with the department because he is on blood thinner. If he had an injury, he could bleed to death."