Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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bloodBlood transfusions are a necessary part of many medical procedures in which the patient is losing or has lost a large quantity of blood that needs to be replaced. While blood transfusions help many patients, they can also be a dangerous procedure. If you or a loved one has been injured by a blood transfusion mistake, you should speak to a skilled Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney without delay. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause. We will stop at nothing to make sure your medical malpractice claim is resolved efficiently and effectively.

Blood transfusion is generally the process of receiving blood or blood products into one’s circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used for a variety of medical conditions to replace lost components of the blood. Blood transfusions are performed by using donated blood. Both the patient and the donor are tested to ensure that the blood types match. Examples of blood transfusion mistakes include but are not limited to:

  • Multiple blood samples being cross-matched;
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babyIf you believe your child is suffering from cerebral palsy due to a medical professional’s negligence, you need to reach out to a seasoned Syracuse cerebral palsy attorney who can handle your case. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we can meticulously analyze the facts of your case and advise of you of your rights and options.

Approximately 764,000 children and adults have cerebral palsy in the United States. About 10,000 babies born each year will develop the condition. Cerebral palsy is a broad term that refers to a number of neurological disorders that can affect the development of the part of a child’s brain that controls motor skills and movement. ‘Cerebral’ means having to do with the brain, whereas ‘palsy’ means weakness or problems related to the muscles. As a result, cerebral palsy can lead to serious physical disabilities stemming from tremors, joint and bone deformities, and balance problems. In some cases, the condition can cause cognitive problems and seizures as well.

In a lot of cases, cerebral palsy is a direct result of medical mistakes. Cerebral palsy can result from a number of acts or omissions by a medical professional, including:

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surgeryWhen we visit a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility, we expect that any instruments used will be sterilized. If you or someone close to you has been adversely affected by contaminated instruments, it is imperative to reach out to a knowledgeable Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how dirty instruments can cause serious health problems, such as infections and illnesses. You can rest assured that we will analyze the facts of your case and help you mount a strong case for financial compensation.

Unfortunately, the use of contaminated instruments may be more common than you think. According to a pilot program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, out of 1,500 outpatient surgery centers that were inspected, about 28 percent were cited for infection control deficiencies related to surgical instrument cleaning and sterilization. Using unclean instruments can lead to a number of adverse consequences, including infections, loss of limb, and even death.

Hospitals have a duty to make sure that germs, disease, and contamination are kept in check through proper sterilization methods. When a dirty instrument injures a patient, that patient may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is defined as a failure to render care or treatment in accordance with the accepted standards of medical practice. In other words, medical malpractice takes place when a person or entity causes a patient harm by deviating from the level of care that a reasonably prudent person or entity would have used in the same or a similar situation. For example, a hospital adhering to the accepted standard of care would have a system in place to ensure each instrument was sterilized before it was used on a patient. As a result, a hospital that caused a patient harm by failing to do this would likely be liable for malpractice.

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Surgical ProcedureMedical malpractice claims require testimony from expert witnesses in order to articulate the relevant standard of care for the medical professional who allegedly committed the negligent act. Not all expert testimony is admissible in New York medical malpractice cases. In fact, the United States Supreme Court articulated several factors that expert testimony must meet in order to be admissible. A November 16, 2017 decision, Norman v. All About Women PA, et al., case number K14C-12-003, reviewed an expert’s testimony on the standard of care in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The plaintiff went to a clinic and received a diagnostic laparoscopy procedure, and during the operation, her bladder was punctured. She also alleged that the doctor closed her up without fixing the wound, requiring additional surgeries and hospital visits. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit and offered the expert testimony of a doctor to define the relevant standard of care broadly accepted within the medical community.

New York law has two primary elements in medical malpractice lawsuits. The plaintiff must establish that the actions of the medical professional deviated from the accepted standard of care and that such a deviation caused an injury to the plaintiff.

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Paper ShreddedNew York hospital malpractice cases require the review of voluminous medical records. Hospitals and health care providers are required to maintain these records, so a claim should simply be a matter of reviewing what’s disclosed or produced in the pre-trial discovery process. The facts surrounding a medical malpractice decision in which a behavioral health center destroyed physical medical records even after a lawsuit was pending are especially shocking. Without the records, this put the plaintiff at a serious disadvantage to prove the case. The court reviewed what should happen in an evidence spoliation case involving medical malpractice.

In this case, the decedent had a history of mental health problems. When his wife of over three decades passed away, he attempted suicide, which resulted in a December 2013 emergency room visit. The decedent was then admitted to a mental health facility. The decedent and his son, who was his legal guardian at the time, signed a voluntary admission form. The decedent was discharged from the clinic a few months later. Tragically, however, he committed suicide 10 days later.

The family of the decedent requested that the mental health facility retain the decedent’s records because they were considering a potential medical malpractice claim. The facility’s compliance chief ordered that the decedent’s paper records be sequestered. The family hired an attorney, who began discussions about the scope of document preservation with the facility. However, a new employee, who testified that she was not aware that records needed to be maintained, scanned the records electronically and then shredded the paper version.

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Test ResultsGenetic testing is a medical breakthrough that allows people to know whether they are at risk for certain life-threatening conditions. For example, genetic testing can be used to determine whether someone is at an elevated risk for certain types of cancer. If the physician analyzes the testing correctly, he or she may suggest that a patient undergo preventative surgery to greatly reduce the risk of cancer developing. Unfortunately, as a recent lawsuit shows, sometimes doctors can negligently perform genetic testing and perform completely unnecessary surgeries on a patient. A New York medical malpractice lawyer can help you bring a claim if this has happened to you.

The plaintiff, a woman in her mid-30s, went to visit an obstetrician-gynecologist, who reviewed her genetic testing and concluded that she had a 50% probability of being diagnosed with breast cancer and an 80% chance of being diagnosed with uterine cancer. As a result of the genetic testing, the plaintiff stated that she underwent the recommended procedures, a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy, to reduce her chances of getting those forms of cancer.

Her OB-GYN tested her for two specific gene mutations after the plaintiff notified her physician of a family history of cancer. The lawsuit alleges that the results were negative, but the nurse practitioner misinterpreted the results, and the plaintiff was allegedly told that she had a gene mutation that increased her risk of breast and uterine cancers. The nurse practitioner, who misinterpreted the results, referred the plaintiff to specialists, including a gynecologist, who performed her hysterectomy, and another surgeon, who performed her double mastectomy and reconstruction. The lawsuit complaint alleges that neither of the doctors independently confirmed the genetic testing results.

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VA hospitals have the important role of serving United States veterans’ medical needs. As a federal government program, it’s subject to different laws, rules, and regulations than private hospitals or surgical centers. In an unfortunate news report, there are widespread allegations of medical malpractice, involving physicians from VA hospitals. The report notes that physicians who commit malpractice or fall beneath the standard of care are reassigned or asked to resign, and no report is allegedly made on their medical record.

Military Medals

The news report revolves around one doctor in particular who allegedly drilled the wrong screws into one patient’s ankles, incorrectly severed another patient’s tendon, and performed unnecessary surgeries on veterans. Deposition testimony from the VA hospital revealed that he was considered a “dangerous surgeon” by the hospital surgery chief. However, the VA allegedly did not terminate his employment with the VA or report him to a national database or licensing board. Instead, the doctor was allowed to resign and establish a private practice in New York.

New York hospital malpractice claims against VA hospitals are treated differently from claims for malpractice against private companies. Instead, federal law governs the procedures for filing claims against the United States government. The federal tort claims act disclaims governmental immunity and sets forth the procedures for patients to recover compensation for negligent medical acts. Some of the key distinctions from non-governmental malpractice claims include a two-year statute of limitations for claims, all claims being processed through federal court, and the claimant being required to file a federal tort claims act form before any case can proceed. Sometimes there are circumstances in which there are providers who are not employees of the VA who may have also provided negligent care. In that situation, people could have concurrent state and federal actions.

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Patients are required to put a tremendous amount of trust into their physicians, who perform highly specialized procedures with the potential for tremendous risk. Unless told otherwise, most patients probably assume their surgeon is giving them their undivided attention during an operation. As recent regulatory scrutiny shows, however, the practice of double-booking surgeries occurs in hospitals across the country.

Hospital Beds
The practice of double-booking works as follows. At teaching hospitals, more experienced surgeons train residents or fellows in performing surgeries. That means the attending, or more senior, surgeon can delegate the task of performing different surgeries to different trainees. In practice, the attending surgeon might perform an operation in one room while having a trainee performing a surgery on a different patient in another room.

Double-booking is not prohibited by law, but the policies of hospitals determine whether or not to allow the practice. Reports have alleged that health complications result from double-bookings. For instance, a Boston Globe investigative report noted examples of patients waiting under anesthesia while hospital staff attempted to locate surgeons who were not present. Trainees ended up performing those surgeries without oversight.

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