Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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bloodBlood transfusions are a necessary part of many medical procedures in which the patient is losing or has lost a large quantity of blood that needs to be replaced. While blood transfusions help many patients, they can also be a dangerous procedure. If you or a loved one has been injured by a blood transfusion mistake, you should speak to a skilled Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney without delay. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause. We will stop at nothing to make sure your medical malpractice claim is resolved efficiently and effectively.

Blood transfusion is generally the process of receiving blood or blood products into one’s circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used for a variety of medical conditions to replace lost components of the blood. Blood transfusions are performed by using donated blood. Both the patient and the donor are tested to ensure that the blood types match. Examples of blood transfusion mistakes include but are not limited to:

  • Multiple blood samples being cross-matched;
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xrayWhen we visit a doctor, we expect to receive competent care. While it is important for medical professionals to be diligent, the reality is that overtreatment of patients is a serious problem in New York and throughout the United States. If you believe that you or someone close to you suffered an injury caused by unnecessary treatment or care, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can examine what happened in your case and help you determine your legal rights and options.

A study released by PLOS One exposed the issue of overtreatment in the United States. The study found that at least 15 to 30 percent of overall medical care is unnecessary. About 21,000 doctors participated in the survey, administered by researchers from Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School. The data revealed that about 22 percent of prescription medication, 25 percent of tests, and 11 percent of procedures that are given are not necessary. For instance, not every patient with back pain needs an x-ray, but an x-ray is ordered a lot of the time.

Nearly 85 percent of the doctors in the study said the reason for overtreatment was fear of malpractice lawsuits, while nearly 60 percent of doctors said patients demand unnecessary treatment. More than 70 percent of doctors conceded that physicians are more likely to perform unnecessary procedures when they profit from them, while only 9.2 percent admitted that their own financial security was a factor.

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stomachWeight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass surgery have gained immense popularity in recent years. If it is not performed properly, gastric bypass surgery can have devastating effects on patients and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured during or as a result of a gastric bypass procedure, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can scrutinize the facts of your case and determine the viability of your claim. You can rest assured that we are here to protect your rights at every step of the way.

Gastric bypass surgery refers to a procedure that helps an individual lose weight by changing how the stomach and intestine handle the food that a person eats. The surgery generally involves making a small stomach and removing the rest of the stomach. The small intestine is then attached to the new stomach, permitting the lower part of the stomach to be bypassed. After the surgery, the stomach is smaller, and individuals feel full with less food.

Unfortunately, injuries and deaths associated with gastric bypass procedures are more common than you may think. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2 percent or one in every 50 gastric bypass surgery patients died within 30 days of their operations. The report also found that 5 percent or one in 20 died within a year – the complications ranging from infection and incisional hernia to ulcers and blood clots in the lungs.

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gavelIf you or someone close to you has been injured in what seems like a clear case of medical malpractice, we can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can help you seek the compensation you need to put your life back together. We understand that these cases can be daunting, but you can rest assured we will try to make the process as seamless as possible for you.

“Res ipsa loquitur” is Latin for “the thing that speaks for itself.” When a case is tried on the legal theory of res ipsa loquitur, the circumstantial evidence in the case is so convincing that it removes possible causes of the patient’s injury other than the doctor’s negligence. Put another way, in situations in which a specific cause of an injury is unknown, res ipsa loquitur permits negligence to be inferred from the circumstances under which a injury took place, if the injury would not normally occur in the absence of negligence.

The doctrine may be applicable to certain medical malpractice cases, especially cases involving injuries during surgical procedures. For example, if an injury to an anesthetized patient occurs during surgery in an area remote from the operating site, res ipsa loquitur may be appropriate to establish malpractice. In such a scenario, the plaintiff would have to show that the surgeon can be presumed negligent because he or she had exclusive access to the patient’s body at that time, the injury would not have occurred in the absence of negligence, and the plaintiff did not contribute to the injury in any way. It is important to note that to rely on res ipsa loquitur, the plaintiff need not conclusively eliminate the possibility of all other causes of injury.

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heart

If you have been injured or your loved one has died due to a medical professional’s failure to correctly diagnose a heart attack, you may be able to recover compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys understand how to navigate these complex claims and can put our knowledge to use in your case.

A heart attack happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle itself is seriously reduced or stopped. Put another way, a heart attack takes place when there is inadequate blood supply to the heart. When blood flow is restricted, the heart muscle starts to fail, resulting in severe chest pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies from a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States. About 20 percent of cardiac events are characterized as “silent,” meaning the victim is unaware that the heart attack occurred, even though the body is dealing with the detrimental effects.

In most cases, a patient will experience certain things before the onset of a heart attack, such as chest pain, left shoulder pain, nausea, fainting or light-headedness, cold sweats, and having difficulty breathing. In addition to these signs, certain patients often have higher risk factors for heart attacks, some of which include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, and diabetes.

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anesthesiaAnesthesiologists play a vital role in keeping patients safe during surgical procedures. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to an anesthesia error, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled Syracuse anesthesia malpractice attorneys understand the serious consequences that can result from such errors, which is why are committed to providing aggressive yet compassionate representation at every step of the way. You can rest assured that we are here to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Whether it is a local anesthetic or a general anesthetic that puts you to sleep, the goal of anesthesia is the same:  to reduce or prevent pain and allow physicians to work. While the use of anesthesia is normally safe, mistakes involving anesthesia can lead to serious injuries and even death. Anesthesia errors affect many people in New York and throughout the United States each year. In fact, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations states that 21,000 to 42,000 Americans experience anesthesia awareness each year – a condition in which the intended state of complete unconsciousness is not maintained throughout the whole surgical procedure. In other words, the patient can recall the surroundings or an event related to the surgery while under general anesthesia. Other examples of anesthesia errors include:

  • Dosage error (too much or too little);
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casketLosing a loved one is a shattering experience in anyone’s life, especially when the death was untimely and unexpected. If you lost a loved one during or shortly after a medical procedure, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled Syracuse wrongful death attorneys will thoroughly review your claim and determine how we can help. With years of experience, you can rest assured that we understand how to pursue the compensation you need to move on with your life.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice is more common than you may think. In fact, one Johns Hopkins study found that medical malpractice deaths are the third-leading cause of death in the nation. According to data collected by the Institute of Medicine, one of five medical errors are potentially serious or fatal. Additionally, an estimated 98,000 Americans die each year due to preventable medical errors, including 7,000 deaths caused by medication errors.

When your loved one’s death is caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. New York places the responsibility of filing the wrongful death claim on the “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate. This means family members are not allowed to file a wrongful death claim in civil court unless that family member is also the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. However, the wrongful death claim may seek damages for losses suffered by the deceased person’s heirs, beneficiaries, or devisees, as well as any losses suffered by the decedent’s estate.

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Paper ShreddedNew York hospital malpractice cases require the review of voluminous medical records. Hospitals and health care providers are required to maintain these records, so a claim should simply be a matter of reviewing what’s disclosed or produced in the pre-trial discovery process. The facts surrounding a medical malpractice decision in which a behavioral health center destroyed physical medical records even after a lawsuit was pending are especially shocking. Without the records, this put the plaintiff at a serious disadvantage to prove the case. The court reviewed what should happen in an evidence spoliation case involving medical malpractice.

In this case, the decedent had a history of mental health problems. When his wife of over three decades passed away, he attempted suicide, which resulted in a December 2013 emergency room visit. The decedent was then admitted to a mental health facility. The decedent and his son, who was his legal guardian at the time, signed a voluntary admission form. The decedent was discharged from the clinic a few months later. Tragically, however, he committed suicide 10 days later.

The family of the decedent requested that the mental health facility retain the decedent’s records because they were considering a potential medical malpractice claim. The facility’s compliance chief ordered that the decedent’s paper records be sequestered. The family hired an attorney, who began discussions about the scope of document preservation with the facility. However, a new employee, who testified that she was not aware that records needed to be maintained, scanned the records electronically and then shredded the paper version.

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Patients are required to put a tremendous amount of trust into their physicians, who perform highly specialized procedures with the potential for tremendous risk. Unless told otherwise, most patients probably assume their surgeon is giving them their undivided attention during an operation. As recent regulatory scrutiny shows, however, the practice of double-booking surgeries occurs in hospitals across the country.

Hospital Beds
The practice of double-booking works as follows. At teaching hospitals, more experienced surgeons train residents or fellows in performing surgeries. That means the attending, or more senior, surgeon can delegate the task of performing different surgeries to different trainees. In practice, the attending surgeon might perform an operation in one room while having a trainee performing a surgery on a different patient in another room.

Double-booking is not prohibited by law, but the policies of hospitals determine whether or not to allow the practice. Reports have alleged that health complications result from double-bookings. For instance, a Boston Globe investigative report noted examples of patients waiting under anesthesia while hospital staff attempted to locate surgeons who were not present. Trainees ended up performing those surgeries without oversight.

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Scalpel SurgeonMedical malpractice cases rely heavily on expert medical opinions because negligence is established by the breach of a physician’s standard of medical care. Not all expert testimony is admissible at trial, however. Each jurisdiction maintains rules of evidence to guide which sort of expert testimony is admissible. For example, NY CPLR Section 4515 sets forth the rules for admitting expert testimony in New York medical malpractice cases.

In a recent case, a plaintiff sought the services of a plastic surgeon and underwent abdominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck,” at the age of 57. The plastic surgeon later conducted multiple unsuccessful scar revisions, but the surgeries were botched. The plaintiff’s plastic surgeon refunded her medical expenses.

The plaintiff sought the treatment of other doctors to help correct the botched tummy tuck. Eventually, the plaintiff consulted with the defendant in the case, who recommended a less invasive, in-office procedure, which she underwent in June 2008. In several follow-up appointments, the plaintiff complained of abdominal pain and vaginal irritation. The plaintiff was referred to another doctor, who diagnosed her with an umbilical hernia, and she filed a lawsuit against the surgeon who performed the less invasive procedure.

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