Ex-NFL Star Awarded $11.5 Million For Career-Ending Toe Injury


Posted on 13th May 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A hurt toe has translated to a $11.5 million verdict for an ex-football player whose promising career was cut short by the injury. http://lawyersusaonline.com/blog/2010/05/12/former-nfl-star-wins-115-million-verdict-against-team-doctor/

Former Miami Dolphins player Otis J. McDuffie won his case against the team’s physician, Dr. John Uribe. The claims that McDuffie had against other physicians who treated him and two hospitals were settled prior to the medical malpractice trial involving Uribe.

After three hours of deliberations, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury in Florida rendered the judgment for McDuffie.  It awarded him $10 million for lost wages from 2001 through 2004; $750,000 for past pain and suffering; and $750,000 for future pain and suffering.         

 “O.J.” McDuffie was a football star both in college and  in the National Football League. At Penn State, he set single-season as well as receiving records. The Dolphins drafted him in the first round in 1992, and he became a starting wide receiver. In 1998 McDuffie was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.

But that success came to a halt in November 1999, when the Dolphins were playing the New England Patriots. McDuffie was tackled and he hyperextended the big toe on his left foot. The player left the field and Dr. Uribe  examined him and taped his toe.  The physician then sent MCDuffie back into the game.

McDuffie had heard a pop when he first hurt his toe, and when he was sent back to the field he heard that pop a second time, and left the field once again. This time,  Dr. Uribe gave McDuffie a needle to stifle his pain, taped the toe again and sent the player back out to play again.   

At the malpractice trial, McDuffie testified that Dr. Uribe never informed him of the results of  MRIs that found that he had raptured the ligaments in his toe. And the team physician told McDuffie to keep on playing and practicing, according to the athlete. 

Months later a new team doctor sent McDuffie to a foot and ankle physician, who suggested the player have surgery. But during this period McDuffie was still playing ball with his ruptured ligaments, and as a result he sustained irreversible joint-surface damage.

When McDuffie finally had his surgery, but he still developd arthritis in his toe, which put an end to his football career. The Dolphins let him go in 2002.

During the trial Dr. Uribe’s lawyer argued that pro football players often ask doctors to minimize their pain so they can continue playing, and not lose any pay for missing games.