Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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Older people are especially vulnerable to the injuries that arise out of incompetent medical care, and in many instances, the harm they sustain is insurmountable, and they ultimately succumb to their illnesses. In such instances, the deceased person’s family members often can seek compensation from the negligent care providers via a wrongful death claim. In a recent New York ruling, a court discussed a dispute over verdict slips in a case in which it was alleged that medical negligence led to a person’s death. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to incompetent medical care, you have the right to pursue claims, and you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to determine what compensation you may be able to recover.

The Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to the defendant hospital. One evening during his stay, he vomited and then was noted to have blue lips and nailbeds. His oxygen saturation level dropped to 55%, and he died later that evening. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging medical negligence and wrongful death claims. Prior to trial, the parties submitted proposed verdict sheets. The defendant then filed a motion asking the court to reject the plaintiff’s verdict sheet to the extent it sought damages for emotional or physical harm or death, and conscious pain and suffering caused by the defendant’s violation of New York health laws. The court denied the defendant’s motion, after which the defendant filed a motion for leave to reargue the issues.

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In many medical malpractice cases, there are multiple parties named as defendants. Defendants typically have varying degrees of liability, and it is not uncommon for one defendant to agree to settle, and for the plaintiff to draft a release dismissing the claims against that defendant. A release as to one defendant will not apply to unnamed parties, though, as discussed in an opinion recently issued by a New York court in a hospital malpractice case. If you suffered harm due to incompetent care you received in a hospital, it is in your best interest to meet with a capable Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your right to pursue damages.

The History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff child received treatment at the defendant hospital. He suffered unspecified harm, after which his mother filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital and multiple doctors who worked at the hospital, arguing their negligence caused her son’s harm. A settlement agreement was reached between the defendant hospital and other providers, and the plaintiff. Pursuant to the agreement, the plaintiff provided general releases to the settling defendants and filed an infant compromise order.

It is reported that it was understood, however, that she was permitted to continue her claims against the remaining defendants. More than three years later, though, the defendant doctor, who was an employee of the defendant hospital, sought to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against her on the grounds that she was covered by the terms of the general release. The plaintiff then moved to amend the infant compromise order to the extent it could be construed to release claims against the defendant doctor. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion, and the defendant doctor appealed. Continue reading

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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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