Court rules prison doc can't be sued over eye surgery

LANSING (AP) -- A federal appeals court has cleared an ex-Michigan prison official of liability for an inmate's four-year delay in getting cataract surgery.

In a 2-1 decision, the court last week said Dr. George Pramstaller has immunity, overturning a federal judge's decision. He was chief medical officer at the Corrections Department.

Dallas Cobbs had cataract surgery on his right eye in 2004 but didn't get the other eye fixed until 2008, despite recommendations that it be done sooner. Vision in the left eye was as bad as 20/600. Cobbs says his right against cruel punishment was violated.

The appeals court acknowledged the 57-year-old Cobbs had a serious need and the second surgery seemed necessary. But the court says the delay doesn't add up to "deliberate indifference" by the doctor.

Published: Tue, Apr 17, 2012