Palmer Awarded Damages After Failed Eye Surgery

PALMER (Tracy Smith-kimball - Associated Press)
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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Palm Beach (Fla.) County jury sided with Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer yesterday, finding an ophthalmologist liable for damage to Palmer's vision and awarding him $890,000.

Tom Coffman called the jury's verdict "unfortunate" and left it up to his attorneys whether to appeal.

Palmer, while pleased with the verdict, was by no means jubilant.

"I wish it had never come to this," Palmer said. "I don't wish a detached retina on anybody."

Palmer, 62, who pitched for the Baltimore Orioles and won three Cy Young Awards in four years, is an analyst on Orioles television broadcasts. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1990.

His attorney, Gary Cohen, said Palmer was talked into a getting a multifocal intraocular lens in his eye that isn't made for people who work at night. That lens was later taken off the market, Cohen said.

After the cataract surgery, there were signs of retinal tears that should have prompted further examination but were instead ignored and led to a detached retina, Cohen said. Palmer still suffers from vision problems that have affected his ability to work, as many games are held at night.

"I'm no different than anyone else," Palmer said. "I don't care if you're in the Hall of Fame."

Undergoing a reattachment surgery was "pretty scary," Palmer said, not knowing whether he would be able to see when the surgery was over.

The jury awarded $327,000 in lost earnings and $563,000 in past and future pain and suffering.

Coffman said after the verdict that jurors "believed the lawyers" and that he has always provided the highest quality care.

-- From News Services

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