It is well established under New York law that a doctor must obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to performing a procedure. If they fail to do so and a patient subsequently suffers harm, they may be liable for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York court discussed what a plaintiff must prove to establish liability due to the failure to obtain informed consent in a case arising out of complications following an appendectomy. If you were injured following a negligently performed surgery, it is wise to contact a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your rights as soon as possible.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff presented to the emergency department of the defendant’s hospital with complaints of abdominal pain. He was subsequently diagnosed with appendicitis and underwent an appendectomy. He later had to undergo a second surgery. He suffered complications, after which he filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the surgeon’s failure to obtain his informed consent and negligent performance of the surgery constituted medical malpractice. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, and the court granted the motion. The defendant appealed.
Proving Liability for Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. First, the appellate court noted that the plaintiff’s medical expert, who was an internist, was not qualified to opine on the issue of whether the surgeon departed from the accepted standard of medical care in the applicable community when he performed the plaintiff’s surgeries. Specifically, the court stated that the plaintiff’s expert did not demonstrate any familiarity with abdominal surgery in particular or surgery in general. Continue reading