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Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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Typically, courts aim to assess medical malpractice cases based on their merit. In other words, the courts will determine if either party has presented sufficient evidence in support of their position to obtain a judgment as a matter of law, or if the case should proceed to trial. In some instances, however, a court will grant a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff based on the defendant’s failure to comply with procedural requirements.  Recently, a New York appellate court assessed when a default judgment should be entered against a defendant for failing to respond to a plaintiff’s complaint in a hospital malpractice case. If you were harmed by negligent care you received in a hospital, it is advisable to meet with a proficient Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney regarding your potential causes of action.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was struck by a vehicle, which required her to undergo bilateral leg amputations. She filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver, and five years later, amended the complaint to assert medical malpractice claims against the defendant hospital where she underwent her amputations and the defendant surgeons who participated in her amputation. Each of the defendants was served, and the defendant hospital and first defendant surgeon filed motions to dismiss. The second defendant surgeon did not respond. The court granted the defendant hospital and first surgeon’s motions to dismiss. The defendant hospital then moved to reargue that the claim against the second surgeon should be dismissed, and the plaintiff filed a cross-motion to enter a default judgment against the second surgeon. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion, and the defendant hospital appealed. Additionally, the second surgeon filed a motion to vacate the judgment due to an excusable delay.

Grounds for Entering a Default Judgment

On appeal, the court noted that the defendant hospital employed the second surgeon at the time of the alleged harm, and therefore found that the hospital had standing to seek vacatur of the order granting default judgment. The court went on to explain that a defendant seeking to vacate a default granted for the failure to answer or appear must demonstrate a valid excuse for the default and a defense to the action that is potentially meritorious. Whether an excuse for a failure to respond is reasonable lies within the discretion of the court. Factors considered in determining whether an excuse is reasonable include the duration of the delay, whether there was prejudice to the opposing party, the public policy in favor of resolving a case on the merits, and whether the defendant acted willfully.

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In all medical malpractice cases filed in New York, the burden of proof is transferred from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must delineate the alleged malpractice committed by the defendant via a bill of particulars. In turn, if the defendant wishes to have the case dismissed, he or she must refute each allegation in the bill of particulars with an expert report. In a recent case before a New York appellate court, the court explained what constitutes an expert report sufficient to obtain a dismissal in a hospital malpractice case. If you suffered damages during or after your admission to a hospital due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to speak with a reliable Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background

It is reported that the decedent underwent a procedure at the defendant hospital during which a stent was placed in his esophagus. The following day, he was discharged and directed to follow-up with his primary care physician if he suffered certain symptoms. The decedent died five days later. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and physician who performed the procedure, in which she alleged negligence during the procedure and in the post-discharge care of the decedent. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted with exception to the claims regarding post-discharge care. The defendants appealed.

Sufficiency of Defense Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

In a medical malpractice case, a defendant seeking dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment must establish either that he or she did not deviate from the standard of care or that any deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm. In order to sustain this burden, the defendant must rebut and address each specific allegation of malpractice that is set forth in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars.

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In any civil lawsuit, it is essential for the plaintiff to assert the proper claims against the defendant, and the failure to do so can result in the dismissal of a case. For example, while negligence and medical malpractice claims bear many similarities, there are key distinctions between the two causes of action, and it is important for anyone seeking damages from a medical provider to ensure they are asserting the correct claim. This was evidenced in a recent case decided by a New York appellate court, in which the court reviewed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s negligence claim against a hospital due to the fact that her complaint sounded in medical malpractice.  If you were harmed by negligent care rendered in a hospital, it is critical to retain a seasoned Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing the appropriate claims for your harm.

Facts and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff donated blood at the defendant hospital’s blood donation center. After making her donation, she lost consciousness and fell and sustained injuries. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. Specifically, she alleged the defendant was negligent for failing to follow protocols for diminishing reactions in blood donors, failing to screen for health problems and obtain a thorough medical history, and failing to provide a medical examination before drawing blood.

It is alleged that the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting the plaintiff’s complaint set forth a medical malpractice claim, but the plaintiff failed to file the required certificate of merit. The plaintiff argued that no certificate of merit was required because the allegations in her complaint merely asserted a negligence claim, not a malpractice claim. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed.

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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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While many people who suffer harm due to medical malpractice wish to resolve any lawsuit arising out of the malpractice as quickly as possible, some people delay in pressing the case forward. In cases where a delay constitutes a violation of the rules of civil procedure, it may result in the injured party’s case being dismissed altogether. Recently, a New York court discussed the ramifications of a plaintiff’s failure to prosecute a claim in a hospital malpractice case. If you or someone you loved were harmed by negligent care rendered in a hospital, it is in your best interest to speak with a diligent Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your options for seeking damages.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent was a resident of the defendant nursing home and received care at the defendant hospital prior to her death. In November 2014, after the plaintiff’s decedent passed away, the plaintiff instituted a malpractice claim against the defendants, alleging that they breached the applicable standards of care, thereby causing the decedent’s death.

Reportedly, on March 20, 2019, the defendants served a 90-day notice on the plaintiff for failing to prosecute the case. The notice advised the plaintiff’s that a default would be entered against her if she did not take action. The plaintiff then filed a motion to vacate the notice or in the alternative for an extension of time to file a note of issue.

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Many hospitals and facilities not only provide medical care, but they also act as learning institutions for doctors in training. Thus, in many cases, a patient will be treated by a resident who is supervised by an attending physician. The duties imposed on supervised medical personal differ from those exercising independent judgment, as explained in a recent medical malpractice case decided by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, and in some cases, a resident may not be held liable for an injured patient’s harm. If you were injured by negligent medical care, it is advisable to speak with a dedicated Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent gallbladder removal surgery, during which his liver was lacerated. He subsequently died from bleeding complications. The plaintiffs then filed wrongful death and lack of informed consent claims against the defendant medical center, and defendant resident. As to the defendant resident, the plaintiffs alleged that he failed to test the decedent’s blood coagulation profile or to address the decedent’s coagulation issues prior to the surgery. The defendant resident filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied. The defendant appealed.

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If a person suffers injuries in a hospital, the hospital may be liable for the person’s harm. The standard for imposing liability against a hospital in a medical malpractice case is the same as the standard from proving the liability of an individual defendant, in that a plaintiff must show a deviation from the standard of care caused his or her harm. The failure to establish proximate cause can be fatal to a plaintiff’s claims, as illustrated in a recent hospital malpractice case decided by the appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York. If you sustained injuries in a hospital due to inadequate care, it is important to meet with a zealous Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to recover damages.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was 87-years-old, visited the emergency room of the defendant hospital due to an infection in her foot. The defendant’s staff assessed the plaintiff as being at risk for falling and placed the plaintiff on fall protocol. The following morning, however, the plaintiff fell from her bed and fractured her hip. She required surgery to treat her fracture. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish liability. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Proving a Hospital’s Liability

A defendant hospital seeking to have a case dismissed via summary judgment bears the burden of proving either that there was no deviation from the applicable standard of care or that any deviation was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s alleged harm. If the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce evidence of a triable issue of fact in response to the defendant.

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In many medical malpractice cases filed in New York, the court dismisses the case due to procedural errors, regardless of whether the plaintiff has a valid claim. For example, in instances in which a person is deceased due to medical malpractice, the claim must be pursued by a personal representative rather than the deceased individual. An appellate court of New York recently discussed the procedural aspects of pursuing a claim following a person’s death due to medical malpractice, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged hospital malpractice caused the death of his child. If you or your child were injured by hospital malpractice it is crucial to retain an experienced Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to provide you with a strong chance of a successful outcome under the facts of your case.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff father’s child was treated at the defendant hospital. The child subsequently died, after which the plaintiff father filed a hospital malpractice case, naming the deceased child as the plaintiff. The child’s mother was named as a plaintiff as well, in her individual capacity. The plaintiff father then filed a motion to substitute himself as the administrator of the child’s estate as a plaintiff and to amend the caption. He also sought leave to amend the complaint to include a wrongful death claim. The defendant hospital filed a cross-motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds the motion for substitution was untimely. The court denied the plaintiff father’s motion and granted the defendant’s, after which the plaintiffs appealed.

Motion for Substitution Under New York Law

Under the New York Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion for substitution must be made within a reasonable time. In determining whether a motion for substitution is timely, the court will evaluate several factors, including whether the party seeking substitution was diligent, whether the claim or defense has potential merit, and whether the other party will suffer prejudice as a result of the substitution.

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Generally, a plaintiff has the right to decide where to pursue his or her medical malpractice claim. There are limitations, however, in that a court cannot render rulings in a case in which it has no jurisdiction over an entity or person who is named as a defendant. In a recent hospital malpractice case arising out of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, the court explained when the exercise of jurisdiction over an out of state defendant is valid. If you or a family member were rendered insufficient care in a hospital and suffered harm as a result it is critical to meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation for your harm.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent received treatment at the defendant hospital, which was located in Pennsylvania, where he was cared for by several physicians. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death case against the defendant hospital and numerous individually named physicians, all of whom practiced solely in Pennsylvania. The defendants collectively filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction and the case must be dismissed. The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

Exercising Jurisdiction Over Out of State Defendants

On appeal, the court rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that the defendant hospital consented to jurisdiction by registering as a foreign corporation in New York, or that the named defendants consented to jurisdiction by obtaining licenses to practice medicine in New York. Additionally, the court was not persuaded by the plaintiff’s argument that the defendants waived the right to object with regards to personal jurisdiction, due to the fact that the parent company of the defendant hospital accepted service on behalf of the defendants. The court explained that the acceptance of service, standing alone, did not constitute a waiver or an objection to personal jurisdiction. Continue reading

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In New York medical malpractice cases, if a plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of an estate, he or she must comply with the New York Rules of Civil Procedure, otherwise, the plaintiff runs the risk of having his or her case dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent hospital malpractice case decided by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, in which the court discussed when a plaintiff’s case could be dismissed due to lack of standing to recover on behalf of the estate. If you or a loved one were injured by inadequate care rendered by a hospital it is vital to speak with a seasoned Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Reportedly, in 2016, the plaintiff filed medical malpractice and wrongful death claims against the defendant hospital and defendant nursing home that cared for his mother prior to her death. The plaintiff filed the case as the proposed administrator of his mother’s estate. The defendants subsequently filed separate motions to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff lacked the capacity to sue on behalf of the estate since official letters of administration had not been granted. The court granted the defendant nursing home’s motion on June 1, 2016, and the defendant hospital’s motion on October 18, 2016.

It is alleged the plaintiff then filed a second suit that was virtually identical as a voluntary administrator of the estate. The defendant again moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s case, arguing he was not permitted to bring claims on behalf of the estate. The plaintiff was then granted letters of administration. Thus, he opposed the defendant’s motion, arguing it should be denied because he had letters of administration, and moved to amend the pleadings to recognize him as the administrator. The court ruled that the prior lawsuit was terminated by the May 26 order and granted the defendant’s motion and the plaintiff appealed.

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