Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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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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Under New York law, a person may be confined to a mental health institution against his or her will, for both the safety of the person and of other people the person may encounter. Sufficient grounds must exist to hold a person against his or her will, however, and if a hospital fails to abide by the standard of care in institutionalizing a patient, the hospital can be held liable for malpractice. This was demonstrated in a recent case filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in which the plaintiff alleged numerous claims against the defendant hospital following his involuntary commitment, including medical malpractice claims. If you sustained damages due to a hospital’s failure to comply with the appropriate standard of care in rendering treatment, it is prudent to meet with a diligent Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what you must do to recover damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Involuntary Commitment

It is reported that the plaintiff, who suffers from anxiety and diabetes, was receiving supportive services from a non-profit organization, including rental assistance and subsidies. He was mistreated on several occasions, after which he complained. Subsequently, an employee of the organization falsely accused the plaintiff of making threats of violence against him. As such, the organization called the police and asked them to transport the plaintiff to the hospital.

Allegedly, the police then took the plaintiff to the hospital, where he was involuntarily committed. He was asked if he intended to harm himself, to which he replied no. Nonetheless, he was told he would not be released unless he took certain pills. He took the pills but did not receive any other treatment. He was released the following day. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the non-profit organization and the hospital, alleging that the hospital committed malpractice by admitting him against his will and failing to offer him proper treatment during his admission. The hospital moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure.

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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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