Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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Expert testimony is a key component of any medical malpractice case. Specifically, both plaintiffs and defendants must produce an affidavit from a medical expert that supports their claims or defenses relying on evidence produced from the record. While the expert does not have to practice in the same specialty as the defendant, the qualifications of a doctor that works in another field must be thoroughly explained; otherwise, it may result in a dismissal. Expert qualifications were addressed in a recent New York ruling in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, in part, due to the deficiency of her expert. If you were harmed by the care you received in a hospital, it is prudent to confer with a Syracuse hospital malpractice lawyer to assess your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital after she suffered a stroke. She subsequently developed left sided-paralysis and other complications. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its employees negligently failed to adequately monitor her status or provide her with proper care and that the delayed administration of necessary medication led to her harm. After the parties completed the discovery, the defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment. The court denied the defendant’s motion, after which it appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Expert Qualifications in Medical Malpractice Cases

The court explained that, pursuant to New York law, a defendant seeking dismissal via summary judgment must prove that the evidence, on its face, shows that there was no departure from the standard of care or that any departure did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. In turn, the plaintiff must show that a material issue of fact remains regarding one or both of the defendant’s assertions. Generally, the parties establish their positions via the use of expert testimony. If either party engages an expert that is offering an opinion outside of his or her area of specialty, a foundation must be laid that supports the reliability of the opinion offered. If no such foundation is laid, the expert’s opinion lacks probative value and will be inadequate to sustain the party’s burden with regard to a summary judgment motion. Continue reading

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It is not uncommon for a facility that treats patients with substance abuse issues to employ doctors that generally oversee patient care. In many instances, such physicians have little if any contact with the patients. Diminished patient contact does not excuse them from the obligation to provide competent care, though, and doctors that render negligent treatment can be held liable for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion discussing the evidence needed to establish the liability of a doctor that oversaw a patient’s care in a drug addiction treatment facility, ultimately ruling that the doctor was not accountable for the patient’s death. If you or a loved one suffered harm in a hospital, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse hospital malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Patient’s Care

It is reported that the patient was admitted to a care facility for substance abuse treatment. The defendant doctor oversaw the medical department and was responsible for the supervision of the medical staff. When the patient was admitted, a physician assistant examined her, and she was prescribed Suboxone, which the medical records indicated were per the verbal order of the defendant. The defendant never met the patient.

Allegedly, the evening after the patient’s admission, she vomited. She was examined, but no further action was taken. The following morning she was found unresponsive, and she was transported to another hospital. She later died. The patient’s parents filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he committed medical malpractice. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court ultimately granted his motion. Continue reading

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Many people have advanced directives that indicate that they do not want to receive life-sustaining treatment in the event they contract a terminal illness or suffer an acute medical event. Thus, if a doctor in a hospital prolongs the life of a person with a living will, it may go against the person’s ultimate wishes. It likely does not constitute medical malpractice, however, as discussed in a recent New York ruling in which the court stated that New York does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful life and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a hospital. If you or a loved one sustained losses because of negligent care in a hospital, it is prudent to meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice lawyer to assess your rights.

The Decedent’s Care

It is reported that in 1993, the decedent drafted a living will that stated he did not want to receive life-sustaining treatment if he was terminally ill. In 2017, the decedent’s health had deteriorated to the point that he would likely soon die. The defendant hospital, which was tasked with caring for the defendant, was notified of the living will by the decedent’s health care agent. The defendant nonetheless provided the decedent with antibiotics and intravenous treatment, prolonging his life by twenty days.

Allegedly, after the decedent passed away, the plaintiff instituted a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging it unnecessarily prolonged the decedent’s pain and suffering. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff was asserting a wrongful life claim which was not a valid cause of action under New York law. The court agreed, granting the defendant’s motion. Continue reading

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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 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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In medical malpractice cases, even if plaintiffs believe they were harmed by negligent medical care, they need evidence to support their claims. In many instances, the evidence sought is testimony from the parties that cared for or observed the care of the plaintiff. Thus, if a person with information regarding the plaintiff’s treatment and symptoms refuses to testify, it can frustrate the plaintiff’s attempts to obtain relevant information. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the scope of permissible discovery in a hospital malpractice case in which a non-defendant physician refused to answer certain questions during his deposition. If you were injured because of inadequate care in a hospital, you might be owed compensation and should contact a capable Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to evaluate your possible claims.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was a patient at the defendant hospital. Due to the negligence of the defendant and numerous staff members, who were also named as defendants, he suffered significant injuries, including pressure ulcers and an amputation of his left leg above the knee. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants.

It is reported that during the discovery phase of the case, the plaintiff deposed a doctor who worked in the division of wound healing at the defendant hospital. The doctor, however, refused to answer certain questions. The plaintiff’s attorney then obtained an order from the court, allowing him to continue the deposition of the witness. The witness then sought a protective order asking the court to limit the scope of the deposition, which the court granted as well. The plaintiff then appealed the second order.

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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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It is well established that a plaintiff that seeks to demonstrate medical malpractice must produce expert testimony that is sufficient to demonstrate that the defendant health care provider should be held liable for the plaintiff’s harm.  Not all expert reports are sufficient, however, as an expert must not only be qualified, but his or her report must also be based on reliable scientific methods. Recently, a New York court discussed what standards an expert report must meet to be admissible in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s hospital malpractice claims due to the lack of evidentiary support.  If you were harmed by negligent medical care while you were admitted to a hospital, it is wise to meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what recourse may be available for your harm.

Factual History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff began treating for insomnia at the defendant hospital, which received federal funding. During the course of his treatment, he took an anti-depressant but did not exhibit any complex sleep behaviors. In 2011 and 2012, however, the plaintiff exhibited such behaviors, in that he threw himself out of bed, and left his bed and fell into a wall, causing him to sustain personal injuries. He then filed a malpractice claim against the federal government, as the hospital was federally funded, alleging that the hospital’s negligence led to his harm. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff’s expert’s opinions on causation were inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence, and without expert testimony, the plaintiff could not sustain his claim.

Sufficiency of Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

In a medical malpractice case, to prove causation, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s departure from the standard of care was a significant factor in bringing about the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, where expert testimony is required, the expert must establish the nexus between the malpractice the defendant allegedly committed, and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. The court stated that even if the plaintiff’s experts were qualified to offer testimony, their reports were unreliable.

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Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases, like plaintiffs in other civil lawsuits, are subject to statutes of limitations they must abide by in order to retain the right to pursue damages. As such, if a plaintiff does not file a medical malpractice lawsuit in a timely manner, his or her claim may be dismissed. There are exceptions, however, such as when the relation-back doctrine applies to allow the court to toll the statute of limitations. This was discussed in a recent case decided by a New York court, in which the court ultimately found that the plaintiff failed to establish that the doctrine should apply. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to negligent care in a hospital, it is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney regarding your right to pursue compensation.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was in a coma until she died in August 2016. The plaintiff was appointed her guardian in October 2006. In August 2008, the plaintiff instituted a wrongful death and medical malpractice action against the defendant hospital, arising out of the treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent. Subsequently, in October 2016, the plaintiff began a second wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant as well as two other defendants. The allegations in the second lawsuit were almost identical to those in the first. The new defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s second lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations, which required the lawsuit to be filed within two years and six months of when the plaintiff was appointed as his decedent’s guardian. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that the relation-back doctrine applied to toll the statute of limitations.

The Relation-Back Doctrine

Under the relation-back doctrine, claims against a defendant in an amended pleading relate back to claims previously asserted against a co-defendant, as long as the defendants are united in interest. Typically, it applies to cases in which a party or cause of action is added to a lawsuit, but it can also apply to cases in which separate actions are consolidated. A court evaluating whether the relation-back doctrine should apply must conduct a three-part test. First, the court must determine whether both of the claims arise out of the same conduct. Then the court must assess whether the new party is united in interest with the previous defendant so that the new party can be charged with notice of the claims against him or her. Lastly, the new defendant must know that absent a mistake on behalf of the plaintiff, he or she would have been named as a defendant earlier.

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