Articles Posted in OB-GYN Errors

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In some instances, the negligence of a medical professional is so egregious that it is clear it constitutes medical malpractice. In such cases, while it may not be disputed that the standard of care was breached, there may be disagreement as to which party was liable for the breach, and ultimately for the plaintiff’s harm. This was demonstrated in a recent gynecologic malpractice case in which the plaintiff suffered harm due to a one year delay in receiving the results of a breast biopsy. If you suffered harm due to a gynecological error, it is prudent to speak with a zealous Syracuse gynecologic malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the majority of the facts of the case are undisputed. Specifically, the plaintiff was a patient of the defendant gynecologist. Following her annual visit, she was referred to the defendant radiologist for a biopsy. After the biopsy was performed, the specimen was sent to the defendant lab, where it was analyzed and determined to show cancerous cells. The defendant lab faxed the test results to the defendant physician that performed the biopsy, who then faxed a report to the defendant gynecologist, stating that the procedure had been performed and reporting the positive findings.

Allegedly, approximately one year later, the defendant gynecologist again referred the plaintiff for a biopsy, after which he was faxed the pathology report from the initial biopsy. He then finally advised the plaintiff of the results of her initial biopsy. The plaintiff subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant lab filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff could not recover against it under the undisputed facts of the case. The court ultimately denied the motion.

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Birth injury cases, like all other civil lawsuits, must be filed within the statute of limitations. Additionally, when the defendant is a public corporation, there are strict time constraints regarding when a claim must be filed and served in addition to the normal statute of limitations, and if the plaintiff fails to file a claim in a timely manner, he or she may waive the right to recover compensation. This was shown in a recent case in which a child suffered a birth injury due to malpractice committed by an obstetrician-gynecologist at a hospital that was a public corporation. If your child suffered a birth injury because of negligent acts during delivery, it is prudent to discuss your harm with a dedicated Syracuse obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice attorney as soon as possible to assess what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in July 2007, the plaintiff mother presented to the defendant hospital, which was a public corporation, for the birth of the plaintiff infant. The plaintiff infant was delivered through an emergency cesarean section, and during the delivery, he suffered brain injuries. Thus, in February 2012, the plaintiffs served a notice of claim on the defendant, and in December 2012, the plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Subsequently, in January 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to serve a late notice of a claim or to have late notice deemed timely, and to strike the defendant’s defenses that the plaintiffs’ claim was untimely. The court denied the plaintiffs’ motion and directed that the plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed. The plaintiff then appealed.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Against Public Corporations

In New York, the law requires that a court considering whether to deem a late notice of a claim timely served must weigh, among other factors, whether the public corporation received actual notice of the claim within ninety days of when the claim accrued or shortly thereafter. The court should also consider whether the plaintiff presented a reasonable excuse for failing to serve a timely notice of the claim and for the delay in seeking permission to file a late notice of the claim and whether the public corporation suffered substantial prejudice in defending the case on its merits due to the delay.

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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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There are few things more devastating than suffering the loss of an infant prior to birth, and when the death is caused by negligent medical care, parents often wish to hold the incompetent care providers accountable. Thus, many parents of infants who lost their lives due to inadequate care choose to pursue medical malpractice claims. Even if parents have valid claims, however, their case may nonetheless be dismissed if not properly asserted or supported. A recent New York appellate court opinion in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s ob-gyn case highlighted the importance of thorough and aggressive representation. If you suffered the loss of your child due to incompetent treatment by an obstetrician-gynecologist, it is in your best interest to meet with a skillful Syracuse obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice attorney to discuss what you must do to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff presented to the defendant hospital for treatment during her pregnancy. While she was at the defendant hospital, she underwent diagnostic tests, including a sonogram, pelvic examination, and fetal monitoring, all of which indicated that her unborn child was not in distress and that the plaintiff was not in labor. Unfortunately, however, the plaintiff’s child died prior to the plaintiff giving birth. The plaintiff proceeded to commence a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant’s negligence led to her child’s demise. The defendant moved to dismiss the case via summary judgment. The court granted the defendant’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Grounds for Dismissing a Birth Injury Case Via Summary Judgment

On appeal, the court explained that the plaintiff’s case was dismissed due to insufficiencies in the plaintiff’s pleadings and expert affidavit. First, the court noted that the expert affidavit set forth a new theory of liability in response to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, which was impermissible. Further, the court stated that irrespective of the new theory of liability, which was not considered, the plaintiff’s expert affidavit failed to establish that a material issue of fact existed so as to require a trial. Specifically, the plaintiff’s expert did not address the conclusions or opinions of the defendant’s expert with regards to the sufficiency of care the plaintiff received when she presented to the defendant hospital. Further, the court found that plaintiff’s expert’s opinion that the plaintiff’s child would not have died in utero if the plaintiff performed certain tests was conclusory. As such, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert failed to establish a nexus between the harm suffered and the alleged malpractice.

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It is not uncommon for a physician that treats a patient to refer the patient to a specialist for the diagnosis or treatment of certain conditions. When multiple providers treat a person for a single issue, and the care provided is inadequate, it can be challenging to assess which care provider is ultimately responsible for the person’s harm. In a recent gynecologic malpractice case, a New York appellate court discussed the duties imposed on a care provider with regards to treatment by a specialist to whom the provider transfers a patient’s care. If you suffered harm due to negligent care rendered by a gynecologist, it is wise to speak with a seasoned Syracuse gynecologic malpractice attorney regarding what compensation you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant gynecologist for a routine examination. During the examination, the defendant gynecologist felt a palpable mass that was tender to the touch in the plaintiff’s right breast. As such, the defendant gynecologist referred the plaintiff to the defendant breast surgeon for further examination. Upon examination, the defendant breast surgeon was unable to locate a palpable mass, which he reported to the defendant gynecologist. The mass in the plaintiff’s right breast was ultimately determined to be breast cancer. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendants for malpractice for delaying her cancer diagnosis. The defendant gynecologist filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Liability for Negligence When a Patient is Referred to Another Provider

Under New York law, it is axiomatic that a defendant in a medical malpractice case must prove that he or she did not deviate from the applicable standard of care or that any deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm, in order to obtain a dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. While a defendant in a medical malpractice case cannot be held vicariously liable for the malpractice of a care provider to whom the defendant refers a patient, the defendant can be held liable for his or her own negligent conduct that causes a patient harm.

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In any medical malpractice case, it is essential for the injured person to name the correct parties as defendants. In some cases, however, it is not immediately clear who the correct parties or entities are, and a plaintiff who names the incorrect parties may have his or her claims dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent obstetric malpractice case arising out of New York in which the defendants moved to substitute the United States as the defendant because the individually named defendants were eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you were harmed by a negligent obstetrician, you should consult a trusted Syracuse obstetric malpractice attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue against the parties that caused your harm.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment and Alleged Harm

The plaintiff received care at the defendant hospital throughout her pregnancy. In January 2011, she was admitted to the defendant hospital for the induction of labor. She ultimately filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant hospital and two individual treatment providers, alleging that they deviated from the standard of care in negligently failing to perform required diagnostic procedures and failing to diagnose the plaintiff’s placenta previa in a timely manner. The plaintiff did not file an administrative complaint regarding her allegations with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The defendant hospital had a contract to provide medical services with an integrated service system (ISS), which was the recipient of a grant from HHS to provide preventative health care. As a result, ISS was considered eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Thus, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the correct defendant was the United States.

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It is not uncommon for a defendant in a medical malpractice case to seek to have the case dismissed via a motion for summary judgment. Typically, the defendant’s motion will rely on an expert affidavit opining that the defendant met the standard of care. Even if a defendant sets forth a sufficient expert report, however, the injured party’s claim will not be dismissed if he or she presents an expert affidavit calling the defendant’s care into question. The appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York recently discussed whether summary judgment is warranted where the parties have conflicting expert reports in an ob-gyn malpractice case in which the court affirmed that the plaintiff had set forth sufficient evidence of the defendants’ negligence. If you or your unborn child suffered harm because of inappropriate care provided by an obstetrician or gynecologist, you should meet with an assertive Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated by the defendant obstetrician-gynecologists during her pregnancy. In her third trimester, she complained of pain in her back and abdomen, which the defendants dismissed as normal pregnancy pains. At 28 weeks of gestation, however, it was revealed that the plaintiff suffered a placental abruption, which resulted in the intrauterine death of her fetus. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. The court denied the motion, after which the defendants appealed.

Summary Judgment in Cases Involving Conflicting Expert Opinions

The court stated that the critical elements of a medical malpractice case are evidence of a departure from the accepted practice of medicine and that the departure proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, a defendant pursuing dismissal via summary judgment must make a prima facie showing that he or she met the standard of care, or that any departure did not bring about the plaintiff’s alleged harm. The court noted, however, the summary judgment is not appropriate in cases in which the parties produce conflicting affidavits from medical experts.

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When a child suffers harm at birth, it is often due to the negligence of the doctor that cared for the mother during her pregnancy or the doctor that delivered the child. Thus, if it can be established that the doctors failed to provide appropriate care, the child and his or her parents may be awarded damages. If a defendant ob-gyn establishes that the care he or she provided was adequate, though, the plaintiff’s case may be dismissed. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the shifting burdens of proof in medical malpractice cases and what the plaintiff must prove to avoid dismissal via summary judgment. If you or your child suffered harm due to the negligence of your ob-gyn doctor, it is wise to consult a capable Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding what you must prove to recover compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against two groups of defendants on behalf of her infant son. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the negligent care of the collective defendants caused the minor plaintiff to suffer injuries due to a premature birth. The parties conducted discovery, after which each group of defendants moved for summary judgment. The court granted the defendants’ motions, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Avoiding Dismissal of an Ob-Gyn Malpractice Claim

It is well established that a plaintiff seeking to recover damages in an ob-gyn malpractice case must show that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care and that the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, if a defendant sets forth prima facie evidence that he or she did not depart from the standard of care, or that any such departure did not cause the plaintiff’s harm, the burden will shift to the plaintiff to show a material issue of fact exists as to whether the defendant was negligent.

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New York medical malpractice cases typically hinge on the sufficiency of each party’s expert testimony. If a party fails to provide an expert report, or his or her expert reports are deemed inadmissible, it can have a devastating effect on the party’s position. In a recent OB-GYN malpractice case in which the plaintiff alleged her child suffered harm due to negligent pre-natal care, the  Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York addressed the impact of orders limiting the admissibility of evidence on both parties. If your child suffered an injury due to inadequate medical care during your pregnancy it is essential to meet with a capable Syracuse OB-GYN malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case and to develop a plan for seeking damages for your child’s harm.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff mother began suffering pregnancy complications, including bleeding and leaking fluid, when she was twenty-five weeks pregnant. She was referred to the defendant obstetrician-gynecologist, who examined her and scheduled a follow-up appointment. Prior to the next appointment, the plaintiff mother once again began bleeding and therefore went to the emergency room. She was subsequently transferred to another hospital, where she went into labor. Because the plaintiff infant was in a breech position, he was delivered via a cesarean section.

Reportedly, the plaintiff mother was twenty-eight weeks pregnant at the time of the plaintiff infant’s birth. The plaintiff infant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant obstetrician gynecologist, alleging his malpractice caused the plaintiff infant to suffer severe and permanent injuries. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied, finding there were triable issues of fact. The defendant then filed a motion to deem the plaintiff’s expert witnesses’ testimony inadmissible. The court denied that motion and the defendant appealed.

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Expectant parents rely on their obstetricians and gynecologists to protect the health of their unborn child and to ensure the child is delivered safely. Unfortunately, ob-gyns do not always provide adequate care, which can cause a child to sustain devastating and permanent injuries during birth. In the majority of cases, expert medical testimony is required to prove that the treatment provided deviated from the standard of care and therefore caused a child’s harm. Recently, a New York court explained when expert medical testimony should be barred under the Frye test, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her child suffered injuries at birth due to her ob-gyn’s negligent care.  If your child suffered injuries at birth due to the negligent care provided by your ob-gyn, it is vital to speak with a trusted Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation for your harm and the harm of your child.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff was treated by the defendant ob-gyn during the course of her pregnancy, and during the birth of her child on April 14, 2006. The child had normal Apgar scores at birth and appeared to be in good health. Reportedly, when the child was two to three months old, the mother noticed that the child did not move her right hand. Subsequently, an MRI performed in March 2007 revealed that the child suffered a chronic infarct in the left frontal lobe of her brain. Subsequent tests revealed the child had severe brain damage caused by a remote cerebral injury.

It is reported that following her child’s diagnoses, the plaintiff filed an ob-gyn malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant’s failure to properly manage her labor and delivery and failure to perform an emergency Cesarean section in a timely manner caused the child’s harm. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion seeking a Frye order prohibiting the plaintiff’s expert from testifying that the plaintiff suffered an intrapartum injury during labor and delivery, on the basis that it relied upon a novel theory that was not generally accepted by the medical community.

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