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If a patient suffers harm at the hands of a doctor, people often assume that the doctor committed malpractice. While in many instances the assumption is accurate, doctors can also hurt people through ordinary carelessness, and in such cases, a medical malpractice claim would not be appropriate. The difference between standard negligence claims and those asserting medical malpractice was the topic of a recent New York opinion in a matter in which the plaintiff asserted she was harmed by the defendant doctor at birth. If you or your child suffered a birth injury, it is important to meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse birth injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was born in 1999, suffered harm after her birth during the transfer from the delivery room. Specifically, she was injured when the defendant obstetrician tossed her to another person. As such, she filed a lawsuit against the defendant on January 6, 2020, alleging claims of negligence. The defendant moved for dismissal, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims sounded in medical malpractice and that she failed to pursue her claims within the statute of limitations or file a required certificate of merit.

Ordinary Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice Under New York Law

Upon review of the pleadings, the court found in favor of the plaintiff. The court explained that, under New York law, the difference between malpractice and ordinary negligence hinges on whether the harmful omissions or acts involve an issue of medical science or art that requires special skills that an ordinary layperson will not typically possess, or whether the behavior at issue can instead be evaluated on the basis of the factfinder’s common everyday experience. Continue reading

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Neurological disorders can cause grave harm, and in many instances, that harm is markedly increased if a patient is not properly diagnosed in a prompt manner. Therefore, if a doctor fails to take the measures necessary to accurately determine a plaintiff’s diagnosis, it may provide grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Claims that a medical professional acted negligently must be supported by competent evidence, though, otherwise they could be dismissed. In a recent ruling arising out of a neurology malpractice claim, a New York court explained what constitutes adequate expert testimony to avoid dismissal via summary judgment. If you suffered harm due to the negligent acts of a neurologist, you should confer with a Syracuse neurology malpractice attorney to determine your options.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries

Reportedly, the plaintiff treated with the defendant neurologist in July 2015. He was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and prescribed medication. He had subsequent visits in August and October of 2015, during which his diagnosis remained unchanged. At his final visit with the defendant in December 2015, a test indicated that the plaintiff suffered memory loss. Thus, the defendant ordered a blood test to rule out a number of disorders, including syphilis.

It is alleged that the plaintiff did not submit to the blood test and instead began treating with another neurologist. In March 2016, the plaintiff advised the defendant that he had not taken the blood test and did not intend to take it. His health continued to decline, and he was diagnosed with neurosyphilis in June 2016. He then filed a medical malpractice action against the defendant, who ultimately moved for summary judgment. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and he appealed. Continue reading

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The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered many aspects of people’s lives, including how medical malpractice lawsuits are litigated. Thus, since the Spring of 2020, courts have grappled with the issue of how to protect the rights of parties involved in cases involving medical negligence claims while remaining within the confines of the law. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion addressing the discrete issue of whether to compel a party to sit for a remote deposition in a case arising out of gynecologic malpractice. If you sustained losses due to a negligent gynecologist, it is advisable to speak to a skillful Syracuse gynecologic malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent treated the defendant gynecologist for an unspecified issue. She subsequently lost her life due to complications arising from her treatment, which the plaintiff alleged was due to the defendant’s negligence. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. The case progressed, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiff was reluctant to conduct depositions in person. Thus, she filed a motion seeking to compel the defendant to conduct the depositions remotely. The defendant objected to the motion, but the court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

The Right to Remote Depositions

The court noted that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most depositions were conducted in person. While the New York procedural rules are based on the assumption that depositions would be conducted in person, parties can stipulate to allow for depositions to be conducted remotely. Even if parties do not agree to remote depositions, though, the rule that depositions should take place in person is not rigid.

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Tragically, many people suffer devastating complications following routine surgical procedures. In some instances, the complications are the result of medical malpractice and could have been avoided by the exercise of due care, but in others, they are merely unfortunate and unexpected side effects. Recently, a New York court discussed the burden of proof imposed on a plaintiff in an opinion delivered in a cardiology malpractice case where the plaintiff’s decedent died following a routine eye procedure. If you suffered harm due to a careless cardiologist, you might be owed damages, and it would benefit you to meet with a trusted Syracuse cardiology malpractice attorney to discuss your options.

The Plaintiff’s Losses and Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent eye surgery, which was performed at the defendant outpatient facility. Prior to the procedure, he underwent a physical examination with the defendant primary care physician. Sadly, the decedent suffered unexpected complications and died shortly after the procedure. The plaintiff then commenced a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant facility and primary care physician, as well as the decedent’s cardiologist. The defendants moved to have the claims against them dismissed via summary judgment, but the court denied their motions. They then appealed.

Establishing Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court rulings. The court noted that to prove the liability of a doctor, a plaintiff must prove that the doctor departed from the accepted standard of practice and that the departure directly caused the plaintiff’s losses. A defendant that wishes to have medical malpractice claims dismissed via summary judgment must produce prima facie evidence that he or she did not depart from the accepted practice of medicine or that the departure did not proximately lead to the plaintiff’s harm.

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There are several elements to a successful medical malpractice claim. In other words, a plaintiff must not only prove the defendant acted negligently, and in doing so, harmed the plaintiff but must also comply with the procedural rules for pursuing damages. All too often, however, the plaintiff’s claims are dismissed due to procedural defects, as illustrated in a recent New York ruling where the court dismissed the plaintiff’s psychiatric malpractice claim due to failure to prosecute. If you were harmed by a mental health professional’s failure to provide you with a proper diagnosis, you could be owed compensation and should speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Harm and Allegations

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against numerous mental health providers, arguing that they departed from the standard of medical care and acted beyond the bounds of professionalism. Specifically, he alleged they failed to provide him with an accurate diagnosis, failed to take heed of his prior diagnoses, declined to speak to his treating psychiatrist, and refused to institute appropriate procedures, treatment, and care. The court ultimately dismissed his complaint due to his failure to comply with the discovery rules and orders issued by the court regarding the prosecution of the case. He then appealed.

Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute

On appeal, the court noted that Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37 and 41(b) expressly provide for dismissals for failing to prosecute and failing to comply with discovery orders. A court reviewing dismissals pursuant to these rules will only reverse them if the trial court demonstrated an abuse of discretion. In conducting its review, the courts must be mindful that dismissal under Rule 41(b) for failure to prosecute is a harsh sanction that is only to be used in extreme situations.

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The job of a lawyer in a medical malpractice case is to argue that the evidence presented demonstrates liability or exonerates a defendant. Although counsel is granted broad leeway in how they describe the testimony offered at trial, they cannot couch evidence or otherwise make statements that are prejudicial to the opposing party. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion explaining the parameters of admissible statements in matters involving medical negligence in a birth injury case. If your child sustained an injury before or during birth, you could be owed significant damages, and it is prudent to meet with a skillful Syracuse birth injury attorney.

The Plaintiff’s Care and Subsequent Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was pregnant, received prenatal care from the defendant obstetrician-gynecologist throughout the course of her pregnancy. She underwent an ultrasound at 20 weeks, which revealed that she had a low lying placenta. A second ultrasound a month later did not report the same result, however. Her pregnancy progressed normally, but she experienced sudden bleeding one day and went to the hospital, where she underwent an emergency caesarian section.

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s infant was born in a state of distress and sadly died four hours later. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant’s departure from the standard of care led to her child’s harm. A trial was held, and the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to set aside the verdict, which the court denied. The plaintiff then appealed.

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Surgeons often perform multiple procedures per week, and in many instances, they cannot recall specific surgeries or what techniques or methods they employed during them. Thus, if a patient suffers harm during surgery, the doctor may not have independent knowledge of his or her conduct during the surgery, as required to demonstrate compliance with the standard of care. In some instances, though, a doctor accused of medical malpractice may rely on habit testimony to avoid liability, but such testimony is only permissible in limited circumstances. The admission of habit testimony was the topic of a recent New York ruling in a matter arising out of surgical malpractice. If you were harmed during a surgical procedure, you might be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney.

The Plaintiff’s Harm and Subsequent Claims

Allegedly, the defendant performed a LAP-Band procedure on the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered a perforated bowel during the procedure, which was not discovered until days later, when she was recovering in the hospital. She then underwent a second procedure to repair the perforation. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that his failure to prevent and identify the bowel perforation during the initial procedure constituted medical negligence. After discovery closed, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he did not depart from the applicable standard of care. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Habit Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

In support of his motion for summary judgment, the defendant submitted an affidavit from a medical expert that opined the defendant did not deviate from the standard. The court noted, however, that the expert’s opinion relied largely on improper evidence.

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While many people know that criminal defendants are afforded numerous rights under the law, they may not be aware that civil litigants have rights as well. For example, people are not precluded from pursuing medical malpractice claims simply because they cannot afford to hire an attorney or pay filing fees. A plaintiff seeking to pursue claims in forma pauperis must meet certain conditions, though, and the court may dismiss any claims that do not comply with the applicable standards. Recently a New York court issued a ruling discussing the right to pursue pro se claims in forma pauperis in a case arising out of harm allegedly suffered at a hospital. If you were harmed while receiving treatment in a hospital, it is prudent to meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm and Claims

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant hospital for medical treatment. While she was at the hospital, she was administered medication prior to being warned of the side effects and risks associated with its use. She then suffered a serious negative reaction to the medication. She filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant in a federal court sitting in New York. The plaintiff filed the complaint without the assistance of an attorney and filed a motion requesting permission to proceed in forma pauperis. The court granted her motion but ultimately dismissed her claims due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims in Forma Pauperis

Under federal law, a court must dismiss an in forma pauperis action on its own accord if it is malicious or frivolous, does not state a claim for which relief may be granted, or seeks damages from a party that is immune to liability. While pleadings filed without the assistance of an attorney are held to less stringent standards than those drafted by trained lawyers, a pleading must nonetheless comply with the applicable rules of substantive and procedural law. This includes the requirement that a plaintiff must establish that a court has jurisdiction over a matter.

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In many medical malpractice cases in New York, the defendant will file a motion asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims prior to trial. If the defendant produces an expert report that adequately demonstrates that it should not be deemed liable, the motion will be granted unless the plaintiff produces a report in opposition showing that disputed issues remain that must be presented to a jury. The plaintiff’s report must comply with certain standards, though, otherwise it will be deemed inadequate to prove a trial must be held. What constitutes an adequate expert report in a medical malpractice case was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a New York court in a case in which the plaintiff pursued claims against the defendant that arose out of the treatment of a brain tumor. If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one because of inadequate care from a neurologist, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse neurology malpractice attorney regarding your options for pursuing damages.

The Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Care and the Plaintiff’s Claims

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was treated by the defendants for a brain tumor. The decedent’s tumor was successfully removed; however, it recurred and ultimately led to the decedent’s death. The plaintiff, who was the decedent’s wife, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing that their failure to properly monitor the decedent’s health constituted negligence and that it led to the recurrence and the failure to diagnose and treat the recurrence in a timely manner. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff had not demonstrated a departure from the standard of care. The court denied the motion, and the defendants appealed.

Reliability of an Expert Report

On appeal, the appellate court found in favor of the defendants and reversed the trial court ruling. Specifically, the appellate court stated that the trial court appropriately determined that the defendants established that the evidence, when taken at face value, demonstrated their right to judgment as a matter of law. In other words, the defendants’ expert affidavit argued that the defendants did not depart from the standard practice of medicine and relied on specific facts from the record, addressing each of the plaintiff’s claims.

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In New York, medical malpractice cases are often a battle of the experts. In other words, whether a plaintiff’s claims are ultimately successful or dismissed depends on the strength of the expert affirmations of both the plaintiff and the defendant. An expert report must not only be compelling, however, but it must also be based on competent information. The risks of relying on unsupported facts were demonstrated in a recent ruling out of New York in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s hospital malpractice case due to the insufficiencies of the plaintiff’s expert’s report. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to negligent care in a hospital, you should meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

The Patient’s Care

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent, who was HIV positive, visited the emergency room of the defendant hospital with complaints of abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. He was in critical condition and was admitted to the intensive care unit. He was diagnosed with a small bowel obstruction, sepsis, and renal and respiratory failure. He was placed on a ventilator and underwent abdominal surgery, after which he was administered several doses of morphine.

Allegedly, the day after the surgery, the plaintiff’s decedent died. His death certificate listed cardiac arrest due to septic shock caused by a small bowel obstruction as the cause of death. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging incompetent medical care caused the decedent’s death. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted, and the plaintiff appealed.

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