Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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A variety of health care providers’ actions or failure to act may give rise to a claim for medical malpractice. For example, not only may improperly rendered care form the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit, but the failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to performing a procedure may as well. A plaintiff asserting multiple claims in a medical malpractice action must meet the requirements for proceeding with each claim, however, as each claim is analyzed separately, as demonstrated in a recent ob-gyn malpractice case in New York. If you or your child suffered harm due to negligent care provided by an obstetrician or gynecologist, it is advisable to consult a seasoned Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the plaintiff treated at the defendant health center during her pregnancy. The defendant was a federally qualified health center eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The plaintiff’s baby suffered numerous birth injuries due to the defendant’s failure to conduct proper fetal monitoring or to deliver the baby in a timely manner. Thus, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant pursuant to the Tort Claims Act, alleging medical negligence and lack of informed consent, and arguing that she suffered the loss of consortium of her child. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent and the loss of consortium claims.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

The Federal Tort Claims Act is the sole remedy for claims against the United States or any of its employees. Thus, prior to commencing a lawsuit under the Tort Claims Act, a plaintiff must file an administrative claim with the correct federal agency, and the claim must be denied. Filing the claim is a jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived. As such, if a plaintiff fails to meet this requirement, his or her claim must be dismissed due to the court’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

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If a person harmed by medical malpractice in New York wishes to seek compensation via a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is important that the person understands how other unrelated cases may impact his or her malpractice case. For example, if a medical malpractice plaintiff files for bankruptcy during the pendency of his or her malpractice litigation, it could impair the plaintiff’s rights to recover a damages award, as discussed in a recent New York case. If you were injured by incompetent medical care, it is wise to speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss what factors may impact your case.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that in 2006 the plaintiff and her husband filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant provided the plaintiff with negligent medical care, which caused her to suffer unspecified injuries. Then, in 2008 while the medical malpractice lawsuit was still pending, the plaintiff filed for bankruptcy. She did not list her pending medical malpractice case as an asset in the bankruptcy proceeding, which was fully administered and closed in 2009.

Allegedly, in 2016, the plaintiff once again filed for bankruptcy. She did not list her pending medical malpractice case in the second bankruptcy proceeding, either. The second bankruptcy was fully administered and closed in August of 2016. Then, in November, the plaintiff moved to reopen her initial bankruptcy to list the pending medical malpractice action as an asset of the estate. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion, and the bankruptcy schedule was ultimately amended to include the medical malpractice action. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss the medical malpractice lawsuit, arguing that the plaintiff lacked the capacity to sue due to judicial estoppel. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Self-proclaimed med-spas that offer both medical and cosmetic procedures are increasingly prevalent throughout New York. Med-spas blur the lines between healthcare and aesthetics, and in many cases, it is not clear whether harm caused by negligent care at a med-spa sounds in medical malpractice or ordinary negligence. This was demonstrated in a recent New York appellate case in which a plaintiff’s claims for failure to obtain informed consent prior to a laser hair removal procedure were dismissed after the court ruled that the procedure was not medical in nature. If you suffered harm due to a negligently performed medical procedure, it is prudent to speak with a skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims for damages.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant spa, where she underwent a laser hair removal treatment. The plaintiff subsequently suffered burns and other injuries due to the treatment, after which she filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging, in relevant part, that the defendant failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent regarding the potential risks of the treatment prior to performing the treatment. The plaintiff also set forth claims of negligent hiring and supervision and ordinary negligence. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to render the treatments in a professional or competent manner and failed to properly test the plaintiff prior to performing the treatment. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence

On appeal, the court found that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to the negligence claims, finding that questions of fact existed that precluded the dismissal of such claims. With regards to the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent and negligent supervision claims, however, the court reversed the trial court ruling, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims.

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In many instances in which a patient suffers harm due to incompetent medical care, more than one care provider will contribute to the patient’s harm. Thus, in many medical malpractice cases, a patient may need to obtain information from a provider not only regarding the care provided by the provider but also regarding the sufficiency of the care provided by other practitioners as well.  Thus, if a provider refuses to answer certain questions in a deposition, the patient may not be able to obtain the information needed to prove liability. As such, in some cases, a patient may be able to compel a provider to attend a deposition and answer a proposed line of questioning, as shown in a recent New York case. If you were harmed by negligent medical care, it is in your best interest to consult a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options for seeking the evidence you need to prove your medical provider caused your harm.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against numerous defendants, including a hospital, a radiology practice, and an individual radiologist, arising out of harm caused by the defendant radiologist’s failure to properly diagnose the plaintiff’s heart issues. During the course of discovery, the plaintiff’s attorney deposed the defendant radiologist; however, the defendant radiologist refused to answer certain questions regarding the plaintiff’s treatment she underwent after she was treated by the defendants. Thus, the plaintiff’s attorney filed a motion to compel the defendant radiologist’s continued deposition. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Seeking Testimony Relative to the Plaintiff’s Claims

On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling and ordered the defendant radiologist to submit to his continued deposition. Specifically, the court stated that under New York law, the defendant radiologist could be questioned as an expert in the radiology practice area regarding the plaintiff’s subsequent medical records, her subsequent CT scans and reports, and the findings set forth in a report following a subsequent angiogram. Further, the court stated that such questions did not solely relate to the alleged negligence of other defendant physicians, but were relevant to the issue of whether the defendants’ collective negligence in failing to diagnose and treat the plaintiff proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. As such, the appellate court found that the trial court erred in denying the plaintiff’s motion to compel the defendant to answer questions regarding the plaintiff’s treatment at two other hospitals and order the defendant radiologist to submit to a further deposition.

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Most medical malpractice cases hinge on the persuasiveness of each party’s expert reports. Thus, if a plaintiff’s report is deemed insufficient or inadequate, or the plaintiff’s expert is deemed unqualified to offer an opinion on the salient issues, the plaintiff’s report may be precluded, which will generally result in a dismissal of the plaintiff’s case. There are several factors that are assessed in evaluating whether a plaintiff’s report should be admitted into evidence, as discussed in a recent case decided by a New York district court, in which the plaintiff sought damages from the defendant government entity pursuant to the Federal Torts Claims Act. If you suffered harm at a government facility, it is prudent to speak with a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding the evidence you may need to prove liability.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant government-owned facility for the treatment of an illness. She reportedly suffered harm when a nurse practitioner over-inflated a blood pressure cuff on her arm. Thus, she filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant pursuant to the Federal Torts Claims Act. The defendant subsequently moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert report and to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed via summary judgment. After reviewing the evidence of the case, the court granted both motions.

Sufficiency of an Expert Report

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, an expert’s testimony will be admitted if it is based on facts or data, is the product of reliable principles that have been reliably applied to the facts of the case, and the expert possesses the necessary specialized knowledge to assist the trier of fact in determining the ultimate issues of the case. To determine whether an expert is qualified, the court assesses whether the expert’s area of specialty aligns with the subject matter of his or her proposed testimony. Thus, an expert may be insufficiently qualified if his or her expertise is deficient or too general.

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In some instances, while it is evident that a person suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, the identity of each physician that provided incompetent care will not immediately be clear. Although a plaintiff seeking damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit can add additional defendants after the lawsuit is filed, he or she generally must do so within the statute of limitations. There are some exceptions, however, such as when the relation-back doctrine applies. In a recent primary care malpractice case, a New York appellate court discussed the elements a plaintiff must prove for the relation-doctrine to apply. If you suffered damages due to negligent care from your primary care physician, it is advisable to consult a trusted Syracuse primary care malpractice attorney regarding your harm.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent presented to her primary care physician’s office for outpatient care, following a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. During her visit, she was treated by the defendant physician. She was admitted to the hospital the day after her visit, for complications due to her colitis. She returned to her primary care physician’s office a month after she was discharged from the hospital and was treated by a non-party physician employed by the defendant physician. Shortly thereafter, she returned to the hospital, where it was revealed that she had a gangrenous and perforated colon. She died one week later.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. After conducting the depositions of the defendant and the non-party physician, the plaintiff moved to add the non-party physician as a defendant. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion, and the defendant appealed, arguing that the statute of limitations barred any additional claims.

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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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While in some legal matters, a person may be tempted to proceed without a lawyer, medical malpractice cases are complex and involve a juxtaposition of medical and legal issues. Thus, it generally is in the best interest of a person seeking to recover damages in a medical malpractice case to be represented by an attorney. This was demonstrated in a recent medical malpractice case arising out of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in which the plaintiff proceeded pro se, and many of his claims were dismissed. If you sustained injuries due to a negligent care provider, it is wise to engage an experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff treated with the defendant physicians at the defendant mental health center. During a treatment appointment, he requested that a student physician leave the room, and the doctor refused. The plaintiff attempted to file a grievance against the doctor but was asked to return on a later date. When he returned, he was questioned by the first doctor who was named as a defendant as to whether he had ever been admitted as an inpatient. Later that day, the plaintiff was picked up by the police and involuntarily committed to the defendant mental health center with diagnoses of delusional disorder and schizophrenia.

Allegedly, on the day after the plaintiff was admitted, the second doctor who was named as a defendant mocked him and told him he would be admitted for weeks. The plaintiff produced multiple forms of identification and proof that he was not delusional, but was not released for a week. Following his release, he filed a lawsuit asserting numerous claims against the defendants, including medical malpractice claims arising out of fraud and negligence. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

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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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The law provides many safeguards that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case can use to remedy results that are perceived to be unjust. For example, even if a judge or jury finds in favor of a defendant, a plaintiff in a malpractice case has the right to seek a new trial. A new trial will only be granted in certain circumstances, however, as recently explained by the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in a case arising out of an alleged failure to obtain informed consent and other deviations from the standard of care during a foot surgery. If you suffered damages due to inadequate care provided by a podiatrist, you can consult with a capable Syracuse podiatry malpractice attorney regarding the compensation that you may be able to recover for your harm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant podiatrist, alleging that the defendant failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to a surgical procedure and that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for a new trial.

The Standard for Granting a New Trial

Under federal law, a new trial will only be granted if the verdict rendered by the jury or judge is against the clear weight of the evidence, the trial court acted unfairly, significant evidentiary errors occurred, the jury received improper or inadequate instructions, or the judge or jury awarded excessive damages. Thus, a new trial is only warranted in cases in which it is necessary to rectify a miscarriage of justice or a clearly erroneous result, after reviewing all the evidence of record. In other words, courts are not granted the discretion to reevaluate the evidence and vacate a jury’s verdict merely because a reasonable jury could have come to a different conclusion under the facts of the case, or because the judge believes taht another result was justified.

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