Former Miami Dolphin O.J. McDuffie, has won his Florida medical malpractice case against the team doctor and been awarded $11.5 million. Wednesday, May 5, the case concluded in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Dr. John Uribe is the former team doctor for the Dolphins. The player said the doctor was negligent when McDuffie injured his left big toe in 1999 and an MRI showed the injury was serious. The Dolphins doctor told McDuffie that the exam was inclusive and failed to tell him that the MRI showed severe ligament damage from a rupture. A Miami-Herald report states that the toe injury worsened and McDuffie continued to play, say his lawyers.
After nine years with the Dolphins and three surgeries on the toe, he was released by the team in February, 2002. His lawyers say that Dr. Uribe was guilty of malpractice and gross negligence in Florida and ultimately cost McDuffie millions in lost earnings. The award covered $10 million in lost earnings and $1.5 million for anguish, reports the Associated Press. Dr. Uribe calls the ruling a travesty and plant an appeal.
McDuffie had been with the Dolphins for nine years. He was a 1993 first round draft pick out of Penn State University and led the NFL in receptions in 1998. By the time his career ended after the 2000 season he has just 14 catches for 143 years over nine games. Since the end of his career he has put together a foundation called the Catch 81 Foundation to support and create programs to enhance the quality of life for children of South Florida “and empowering them to pursue the best in themselves.”