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Articles Posted in Radiology Malpractice

Motions for summary judgment are common in medical malpractice cases, as parties often believe the evidence in their favor is sufficient to obtain a ruling prior to trial. When one party files a motion for summary judgment, the other must demonstrate that, contrary to the moving party’s assertions, factual disputes exist in the case that require a trial. In a recent ruling issued in a radiology malpractice case, a New York court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment. If you were harmed due to a negligent radiologist, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse radiology malpractice attorney about your case.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff presented to the hospital with complaints of stomach pain. He subsequently underwent x-ray studies, which the defendant reviewed and deemed normal. The plaintiff was later diagnosed with stomach cancer. He then filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant, alleging his failure to perform follow-up testing constituted negligence and caused the plaintiff’s harm. The parties engaged in discovery, after which the defendant filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment.

Evidence Sufficient to Defeat a Motion for Summary Judgment

Pursuant to New York law, a defendant moving for summary judgment in a medical malpractice case must prove the lack of any material issue of fact with respect to at least one of the elements of a medical malpractice claim. In other words, the defendant must show either that he or she did not depart from the applicable standard of care or that any such departure did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s harm. Continue Reading ›

Typically, in medical malpractice lawsuits in New York, the parties will engage in discovery, after which the defendant will move to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed via summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff has not produced sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the defendant should be held liable. If a plaintiff fails to adequately refute a defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court ruling on the matter may dismiss the case, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a radiology malpractice matter.  If you suffered losses due to a radiologist’s error, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assess your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent treatment with the defendant radiologists at the defendant hospital. He later developed issues due to the treatment and filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. The precise nature of the plaintiff’s treatment and harm was not disclosed. Following discovery, the defendants filed a joint motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling on appeal.

Surviving Summary Judgment in a Medical Malpractice Case

It is the well-established law of New York that a defendant moving for summary judgment in a medical malpractice case bears the burden of proving the lack of any departure from the accepted and good practice of medicine, or that to the extent any deviation occurred, it did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm. In the subject case, the appellate court affirmed that the defendants met their burden of proof by showing that they did not deviate from the accepted standard of care. Continue Reading ›

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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Mammograms are a critical component of preventative care. Many women do not undergo mammograms on a yearly basis, though, despite the clear health benefits. Other women undergo mammograms in mobile screening vans that typically offer mammograms during breast cancer awareness month. If a mammogram conducted in a mobile van is not properly performed or evaluated, and a woman subsequently suffers harm as a result, it can be difficult for the woman to pursue medical malpractice claims. This was demonstrated in a recent radiologic malpractice case arising out of Kings County, in which the court dismissed many of the plaintiff’s claims. If you were harmed by a negligent radiologist, it is wise to speak with a skillful Syracuse radiology malpractice attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a mammogram at a mobile screening unit. The defendant radiologist was retained by the company that administered the mammogram to interpret the images. Thus, he interpreted the plaintiff’s mammogram and reported to the plaintiff’s primary care physician that the mammogram was normal, but that a recall was advised. The report also stated that the plaintiff had dense breasts that made her mammogram difficult to interpret. The plaintiff underwent examinations with her primary care physician and gynecologist, neither of which revealed abnormalities. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with breast cancer approximately a year later. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her gynecologist, primary care physician, and the radiologist for failing to diagnose her breast cancer in a timely manner. She also alleged negligent supervision and lack of informed consent claims. Following the close of discovery, the defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted in part.

Duty Owed by Non-treating Providers

Upon review, the court found that the plaintiff raised triable issues of fact as to whether the original mammography was adequate to obtain an interpretation, whether the defendant radiologist improperly categorized the mammogram as normal rather than inconclusive, and whether the aforementioned errors resulted in a delay in diagnosing the plaintiff’s breast cancer. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent and negligent supervision claims, however. Additionally, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that the radiologist should have obtained prior films for comparison or that he should have recommended a sonogram. Rather, the court stated that the radiologist was not the plaintiff’s treating physician, and therefore his role and legal obligation in her treatment was limited. Specifically, the court found that neither the radiologist nor the company that retained the defendant radiologist owed the plaintiff a general duty of care. Therefore, he did not have an obligation to obtain prior films from the plaintiff or advise her to seek further testing.

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In any New York medical malpractice lawsuit, certain information will be protected from disclosure based on a privilege afforded by the law. For example, there is certain information that is privileged under New York Public Health and Education laws, and a defendant can refuse to produce information under the privilege. If the defendant waives the privilege, however, it loses the right to argue that the protected information cannot be used as evidence. Recently, a New York court discussed the standards of reviewing privilege and waiver in a radiology malpractice case. If you suffered harm because of inappropriate radiological care, it is critical to speak with a knowledgeable Syracuse radiology malpractice attorney regarding the circumstances surrounding your harm and what compensation you may be able to recover.

Facts and Procedures of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the defendant hospital for a CT guided needle biopsy to be performed by the defendant radiologist. The defendant physician mistakenly placed the biopsy needle in the decedent’s aorta, ultimately resulting in her untimely death. The plaintiff’s estate filed a radiology malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. During discovery, plaintiff’s counsel sought to depose a neurologist who examined the defendant radiologist for the purposes of determining his mental and physical capacity and competence in rendering care. The neurologist also produced a written report of his findings. The defendants filed a motion for a protective order, arguing that the neurologist’s testimony and report were privileged. The trial court granted the motion and the plaintiffs appealed.

Privilege in Medical Malpractice Cases

The court noted that the testimony and report were privileged under Public Health Law § 2805–m(2) and Education Law § 6527(3). The court stated, however, that when a party discloses a privileged document it typically waives the privilege unless the party intended for the document to remain confidential and took reasonable steps to prevent its disclosure. The court indicated that in the subject case, the document was originally disclosed by the examining neurologist in a different lawsuit. The defendant’s act of filing the report in the other lawsuit, however, permitted the report to be disclosed to the public at large. Specifically, the court noted that the defendant did not file the report under seal or take any other steps to prevent its disclosure. Thus, the court found that the defendant had waived the statutory privilege by disclosing the report. As such, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

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