Articles Posted in Failure to Diagnose

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In most medical malpractice cases, the primary focus is on whether the defendant health care provider breached the standard of care and thereby caused the plaintiff harm. In some instances, though, a defendant seeking to refute liability will argue that an intervening cause, such as the plaintiff’s own negligence, was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Recently, a New York court discussed comparative negligence in a case in which the plaintiff’s decedent lost her life to breast cancer due to a delayed diagnosis. If a doctor failed to diagnose you or someone you love with breast cancer in a timely manner, it is wise to speak to a capable Syracuse delayed diagnosis malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the defendant health clinic in December 2014, February 2015, and August 2015 with complaints of right breast pain. She was also treated at another hospital for breast pain in between May 2015 and December 2017. She was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2017. She underwent a double mastectomy in April 2017, after which there was no detectable cancer. In December 2017, however, she was informed her breast cancer had metastasized. She ultimately died of cancer at the age of 30 in 2019.

The plaintiff, who was the decedent’s partner, filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant, averring that its failure to properly diagnose and treat the decedent greatly decreased her chance of survival. A bench trial was held during which the court was asked to assess the issues of whether the defendant breached the standard of care in treating the decedent and whether any breach proximately caused her death.

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While delays may greatly impair a patient’s health, they may also impair the patient’s right to pursue damages for negligent treatment. For example, a patient harmed by a doctor’s delay in prescribing diagnostic testing may lead to a delayed diagnosis, which can cause irreparable harm to the patient’s health. Similarly, if a patient that has been harmed by a doctor’s failure to provide a timely diagnosis does not provide the defendant with the proper notice of a potential claim or pursue claims against the defendant in a timely manner, it may permanently impair the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages, as demonstrated in a recent hospital malpractice case. If you were harmed by the careless acts of hospital employees, it is advisable to confer with a talented Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to pursue compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant hospital with complaints of breast symptoms. While she was there, she was examined by the defendant gynecologist and released. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with breast cancer four months later. She then proceeded to file a medical malpractice claim against the defendants, arguing they caused her to suffer significant harm by failing to diagnose her in a timely manner and failing to refer her to obtain the diagnostic testing required to assess an accurate diagnosis.

Allegedly, however, the plaintiff did not file her lawsuit until approximately nine months after the alleged harm. As such, she petitioned the court for leave to serve late notice of her claim. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s petition, after which the defendants appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

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In some instances in which a patient suffers from multiple symptoms that do not have a clear cause, a doctor will be unable to provide the patient with a prompt diagnosis. While some degree of delay in diagnosing a patient may be reasonable, a substantial delay without just cause may constitute medical malpractice. Recently, a New York appellate court explained when a delay constitutes medical malpractice in a case in which a patient alleged she suffered harm due to a physician’s delay in diagnosing the patient with endocarditis. If you suffered damages due to your doctor’s failure to diagnose you in a timely manner, it is wise to speak to a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts Concerning the Plaintiff’s Care

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant urgent care center with numerous complaints. The defendant ultimately diagnosed the plaintiff with endocarditis, multiple days after the plaintiff first visited the defendant urgent care center. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant urgent care center and the defendant doctor who treated her at the center, alleging that the delay in diagnosing the plaintiff caused her to suffer permanent heart valve damage. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court denied the defendants’ motion, after which the defendants appealed. Upon review, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

When a Delayed Diagnosis Constitutes Medical Malpractice  

The appellate court noted that the defendants made a prima facie showing that they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Specifically, the defendants met their burden of proof under New York law by producing a detailed expert affidavit that stated that the defendant’s delay in diagnosing the plaintiff did not constitute a departure from accepted and good medical practice in treating the plaintiff. The appellate court found, however, that the plaintiff did not meet her burden of proof. Specifically, the expert reports provided by the plaintiff neither demonstrated that the defendants deviated from the standard of care or that any purported deviation caused the plaintiff’s alleged harm.

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While in some cases, a patient’s symptoms are straightforward, and the cause of the symptoms are easily ascertainable, in other instances, the journey to an accurate diagnosis can be lengthy. Simply because a patient does not immediately receive a correct diagnosis does not indicate that malpractice is present, however. Instead, in some cases, it may simply take longer to determine what illness is afflicting a patient. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the evaluation of malpractice claims arising out of delayed diagnoses in a case in which it took several months for a plaintiff to receive a cancer diagnosis. If you were injured by a delay in receiving an accurate diagnosis, you should consult a capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your possible claims.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the defendant primary care physician with complaints of puffy eyes and nasal congestion. He was treated and sent home. A month later, the decedent called the defendant primary care physician and advised he was having difficulty swallowing, after which she referred him to a gastroenterologist. She did not order any other tests. The decedent ultimately underwent diagnostic imaging, which revealed that he had a mass in his chest. The defendant oncologist ultimately diagnosed the plaintiff with a form of lymphoma. After  the decedent’s death, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing that their failure to diagnose the decedent in a timely manner caused the decedent’s harm. The defendants each filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted in part. The plaintiff appealed.

Medical Malpractice Arising Out of a Delayed Diagnosis

With regard to the claims against the defendant primary care physician, the court noted that the defendant established via her expert report that the treatment she provided the decedent with on the date of his initial visit complied with the standard of care. In return, the plaintiff’s expert failed to raise a triable issue of material fact regarding whether the defendant deviated from the standard of care. Thus, the court affirmed the order granting summary judgment with regard to that issue.

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Many times when a person presents to the emergency room of a hospital, multiple doctors will render treatment and care to the person. Thus, if the person subsequently suffers harm because the care provided was inadequate, there may be more than one care provider liable for the person’s harm. If a plaintiff cannot establish that the negligence of an individual defendant proximately caused the plaintiff’s damages, though, the plaintiff’s claims against that defendant will be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court granted summary judgment to an emergency room physician, ruling that any negligence on behalf of the physician did not harm the plaintiff’s decedent. If you or a loved one sustained harm due to inadequate care in a hospital, it is prudent to consult a trusted Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the emergency department of the defendant hospital with complaints of chest pain. He was initially evaluated by the first defendant emergency room physician, who ordered numerous tests. However, she did not order a CT scan, due to the fact that she felt a CT scan should not be conducted until after the decedent’s lab results were returned. The defendant emergency room doctor’s shift ended prior to her receiving the decedent’s lab results.

Reportedly, the decedent’s care was then turned over to the second defendant emergency room physician, who requested a consultation with the defendant cardiologist. The defendant cardiologist performed an aortogram to determine if the decedent had an aortic dissection. No CT scan was performed at that time. The decedent was ultimately discharged with suspected deep venous thrombosis and directed to follow up with a thrombosis clinic in two days. Three days after his discharge, the decedent died of hemopericardium due to a ruptured dissection of the aorta. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendants asserting claims of medical malpractice and wrongful death. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment. Continue reading

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When dealing with any health issues it is imperative to obtain an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment in a timely manner. A doctor’s failure to promptly diagnose and treat a person’s illness or condition can result in severe detriments and may sadly lead to a person’s premature death.  In cases where a plaintiff suffers an untimely death after the lawsuit has been filed, it is critical to follow the proper procedures for preserving the claim. This was evidenced in a recent New York appellate court case in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case for the failure to properly substitute parties after the plaintiff’s death. If you suffered damages due to the loss of your treating physician’s failure to diagnose or treat you promptly it is essential to meet with a capable Syracuse failure to diagnose malpractice attorney to discuss your case and what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiffs, husband and wife, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant medical center and defendant physician, claiming that the physician committed malpractice by failing to diagnose the plaintiff husband in a timely manner, and that the defendant medical center was negligent for failing to properly supervise the physician. Approximately a year after the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff husband died.

Reportedly, two years after the plaintiff husband’s death, the plaintiff wife filed a separate wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, as the proposed administrator of the plaintiff husband’s estate. The defendants subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the original lawsuit, due to the plaintiff wife’s failure to pursue a timely substitution of parties on behalf of the plaintiff husband. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss and the plaintiff appealed.

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If you suffered damages due to your doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat an illness, connecting your doctor’s inadequate care to your harm is essential to present a successful case. This was illustrated in a case recently ruled upon by the appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York, in which the court found that the doctor’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff did not result in her ultimate harm, and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. If you were injured by a doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat your illness it is critical to retain a trusted Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to set forth persuasive arguments to show that your doctor should be liable for your damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

Reportedly, the plaintiff presented to the emergency room of the defendant hospital where she was treated and released, with complaints of ear pain. She was later diagnosed with an ear infection by another treatment provider, and ultimately suffered hearing loss. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant emergency room physician, alleging that the failure to diagnose her ear infection caused her to sustain hearing loss. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The defendants appealed and on appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

Proximate Cause

On appeal, the court stated that the defendants established as a matter of law that they did not depart from the applicable standard of care in rendering treatment to the plaintiff. Specifically, the defendants’ expert affidavits stated that further testing or a referral to an otolaryngologist was not indicated by the results of the plaintiff’s physical examination or the symptoms she described. Further, the reports established that to the extent the defendants deviated from the standard of care in failing to diagnose the plaintiff’s ear infection, any departure did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm. Under New York law, proximate cause is established in a medical malpractice case when it is a substantial factor in bringing about the alleged harm.

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Under New York law, a plaintiff who wishes to pursue a medical malpractice claim arising out of a doctor’s negligent failure to diagnose and treat the plaintiff in an appropriate time frame must file a lawsuit within two years and six months of the date of the alleged harm. While certain factors, such as the doctor’s ongoing treatment of the plaintiff will toll the statute of limitations, not all treatment constitutes continuous treatment for purposes of tolling the statute. A New York appellate court recently discussed what treatment is sufficient to toll the statutory period, in a case arising out of alleged ophthalmic malpractice. If you suffered harm due to your physician’s failure to provide you with a proper diagnosis in a timely manner you should consult a trusted Syracuse failure to diagnose malpractice attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding your harm and what damages you may be able to recover.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action against the defendant ophthalmic practice and defendant ophthalmologist due to the failure to promptly diagnose and treat the plaintiff’s glaucoma. The alleged malpractice occurred on February 25, 2011, July 15, 2011, and December 6, 2013. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s case as time-barred. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion, and the defendants appealed.

Care Under the Continuous Treatment Doctrine

A defendant arguing that a plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawsuit is barred by the applicable statute of limitations must set forth prima facie evidence that the time in which the plaintiff was required to commence his or her lawsuit has expired. If the defendant establishes the statutory period has passed, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to raise a material issue of fact as to whether the statute of limitations was tolled by the continuous treatment doctrine.
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Medical malpractice cases, like any civil lawsuit, must be pursued within the time frame established by the statute of limitations. While the courts strictly construe the statute of limitations for pursuing a medical malpractice claim in New York, there are certain circumstances that allow a plaintiff to toll the statutory period, such as the continuous treatment doctrine. The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York recently held the continuous treatment doctrine does not toll the statute of limitations for a failure to diagnose, in a case in which the plaintiff who was harmed by his doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat his kidney cancer in a timely manner sought leave to amend his complaint to add additional claims. If you sustained damages due to your physician’s failure to diagnose or treat your illness, it is vital to recovery to meet with a proficient Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

The Plaintiff’s Care

It is alleged that the plaintiff treated at the defendant hospital for kidney issues for several years. He began treating in 2006 when a lesion was observed on his kidney on a CT scan. Subsequent scans in 2009, 2010, and 2011, showed the lesion as well, but no diagnosis or treatment was provided for the lesion. In 2011, the plaintiff treated with a urologist who advised him to wait six months and then follow-up, and in 2012 he underwent an ultrasound that indicated the lesion was suspicious for carcinoma. He then underwent surgery to remove the lesion, which was diagnosed as renal cell carcinoma.

It is reported that the plaintiff subsequently filed a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital due to the delay in diagnosing his cancer. The plaintiff’s complaint only included the defendant’s negligent failure to diagnose his cancer from 2009 onward, as the earlier claims were precluded by the statute of limitations. The defendant then produced an expert report that stated that there was no progression of the cancer from 2009 to 2012. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint, to add additional negligence claims for the failure to properly diagnose his cancer from 2006 to 2009, arguing that the amendment was permitted under the continuous treatment doctrine.

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Physicians must undergo years of specialized schooling before they are permitted to practice medicine. As such, we expect that they should be able to provide acceptable medical care and diagnose and treat any illness in an appropriate time frame. When a patient is harmed due to his or her physician’s failure to treat an illness facts and information regarding the patient’s treatment from the date of the initial visit through the ultimate diagnosis is essential to proving the physician’s delay in diagnosing the plaintiff constitutes malpractice. A New York appellate court recently analyzed what documents the plaintiff is permitted to request while seeking that information, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he suffered the loss of his leg due to a delayed diagnosis. If you sustained harm because of a delayed diagnosis it is critical to speak with a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to determine your options for seeking compensation.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

Allegedly, the plaintiff injured his left foot, after which he underwent surgery which was performed by the defendant. The plaintiff then suffered an ischemic injury, which resulted in the swelling, gangrene, and infection, and ultimately the loss of the plaintiff’s leg from the knee down. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his harm was caused by the defendant’s failure to manage and treat the ischemic injury. During discovery, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel the audit trail of his treatment records, which he argued was relevant to the timing and sequence of his care following his surgery. Specifically, each time the records were accessed an entry was created which included information about the plaintiff’s care. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Discoverable Materials in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under New York law, any information that is material and necessary must be disclosed in a civil action, regardless of the burden of proof. This has been interpreted to mean that any facts that will narrow issues and are relevant to the underlying dispute must be disclosed. As such, necessary means helpful, not indispensable. Further, any information that is sought in good faith that may be used in support of the party’s position in a case is to be considered material. A party seeking materials must show that the request is reasonably calculated to lead to relevant evidence. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff met his burden of showing that the audit trail was reasonably likely to lead to relevant evidence. Further, the defendant failed to show the court that the request was improper. Thus, the court reversed the trial court order and granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel.
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