Articles Posted in Surgical Malpractice

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In surgical malpractice cases, there is a shifting burden from the defendant to the plaintiff to provide competent evidence to prove whether there is sufficient evidence to show that the defendant deviated from the accepted standard of care. In most cases, each party will produce an expert affidavit supporting his or her position. A New York appellate court recently discussed what could constitute sufficient evidence to rebut a defendant’s prima facie showing that he did not commit surgical malpractice, in a case in which the defendant sought a dismissal via summary judgment. If you were injured due to a surgical error, you should retain a capable Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney to assist you in your pursuit of compensation from your negligent care providers.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Surgery

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent surgery to extract a stone from his left ureter. The surgery was performed by the defendant and was completed without incident. Approximately one day later, however, the plaintiff returned to the hospital with complaints of pain in his abdomen and an inability to urinate. He underwent a CT scan which revealed a perforation in his bladder. He then underwent a second surgery to repair the perforation. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, to which the plaintiff responded by filing an unsworn expert affidavit. The court subsequently denied the defendant’s motion, after which he appealed.

Elements of Proof in a Medical Malpractice Action

The elements of proof in a medical malpractice action are a deviation from the accepted standard of care, and evidence the deviation proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. A defendant seeking the dismissal of medical malpractice claims via summary judgment must establish by prima facie evidence that he or she did not depart from the standard of care, or that the departure did not harm the plaintiff. If the defendant makes a sufficient prima facie showing, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to show a triable issue of material fact. Further, a court should not grant summary judgment where the parties produce conflicting opinions from medical experts.
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Prior to surgery, the physician performing the surgery will typically obtain the patient’s informed consent. The process of obtaining informed consent involves advising the patient of any potential risks to the surgery and asking if the patient understands the risks and consents to the surgery regardless of the risks it presents. A failure to obtain informed consent can form the basis of a surgical malpractice claim if the patient suffers harm as a result of the surgery.

Determining whether valid consent was obtained is a fact-specific analysis. Recently, a New York court evaluated whether the Dead Man’s Statute precluded a deceased patient’s written consent form from evidence in support of the defendant surgeon’s motion for summary judgment. If you suffered harm due to surgical malpractice you should speak with a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can to discuss whether you may be able to recover compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Surgery

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent, who suffered from morbid obesity and sleep apnea, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The surgery was performed without incident by the defendant surgeon, while the decedent was under general anesthesia administered by the defendant anesthesiologist. Immediately after the surgery, the decedent was unresponsive. He then went into cardiac arrest. The surgical team made efforts to resuscitate the decedent, but they were unsuccessful, and he died.
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Surgeons are required to possess the skills and training of other surgeons in their local community. As such, for a plaintiff to recover on a surgical malpractice claim he or she must show, in part, that the defendant surgeon performed the operation in a manner that deviated from the accepted practice in the community. If a surgeon performed a surgery in an accepted manner, a malpractice claim will not lie, even if the manner was not the preferred method. This was illustrated in a recent New York case in which the court affirmed the defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, due to a lack of evidence that the defendant deviated from the standard of care.  If you were injured due to a negligently performed surgical procedure, you should meet with a skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your case to assess what damages you may be able to recover.

Factual and Procedural Background

The plaintiff underwent a brachioplasty, which was performed by the defendant. A brachioplasty, which is commonly referred to as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure that reshapes a patient’s arms. The plaintiff subsequently filed a surgical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant arguing he negligently performed the surgery thereby causing her harm. The case proceeded to trial, and at the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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Medical malpractice claims typically allege that a medical provider negligently breached the standard of care and therefore, the provider should be responsible for any harm the injured party sustained because of the inadequate care. To recover under a medical malpractice claim alleging negligence, in addition to proving that the medical provider’s care was negligent, you must show that the negligence was the actual cause of your damages.

This was illustrated in a recent case decided by the appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York, in which the court affirmed a jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant medical provider, despite finding he provided negligent care. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, you should seek a consultation with a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney in a timely manner to discuss what options you have for pursuing damages from the responsible parties.

Plaintiff’s Allegations and the Jury Ruling

The plaintiff sued the defendant doctor for allegedly improperly performing diagnostic arthroscopic knee surgery, without her consent. The plaintiff claimed that as a result of the surgery, which was unnecessary, she suffered neurovascular injuries. During the trial, the defendant and plaintiff each presented evidence from experts certified in orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery. The jury ultimately found that the defendant deviated from the standard of care in his pre-surgical examination of the plaintiff, but the deviation was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Additionally, the jury found that the defendant did not deviate from the standard of care in any other way in his treatment of the plaintiff and that the defendant obtained the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to performing the surgery. The plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the jury’s verdict, alleging that the jury’s verdict was contrary to and against the weight of the evidence. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Under New York law, medical malpractice actions must be filed within two and a half years of the last date of treatment or they may be barred as untimely. Depending on the nature of the relationship between the patient and treatment provider, however, the last date of treatment may be up for debate.

Recently, the Supreme Court of New York held that an issue of fact existed as to whether an injured party’s treatment with a medical practice could be imputed to the surgeon that allegedly caused her harm. If you suffered injuries or illness due to insufficient medical care, it is in your best interest to consult a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you may be able to seek compensation from one or more of the medical providers that caused you harm.

Plaintiff’s Treatment

Reportedly, on March 18, 2011, the plaintiff underwent a bilateral mastectomy with a first surgeon and immediately after underwent a bilateral breast reconstruction with a second surgeon. The plaintiff subsequently contracted a MRSA infection at the surgical site, and receive treatment for the infection from the second surgeon until November 14, 2011. She also continued to receive treatment from the first surgeon at the practice that employed both surgeons until October 2012. On September 30, 2014, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against both surgeons. The second surgeon filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff’s claims against her were barred by the two and a half year statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions in New York. The court denied the motion and the second surgeon appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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If you suspect that you or someone you love has been the victim of medical negligence by an ophthalmologist, you can potentially recover financial damages for your injuries. Our trusted Syracuse ophthalmologist negligence attorneys will review your case and create a legal strategy accordingly. We know that your time is valuable, which is why we try to resolve every case in an efficient manner.

The Study

People nowadays turn to online reviews before making a decision in many aspects of their lives, and choosing a doctor is no exception. There are a number of websites that permit patients to post reviews of their doctors. In a new study released by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Lubbock, researchers set out to examine how ophthalmologists are rated in online reviews and what factors led to higher ratings.

According to the data, 25 – 85 percent of doctors have an online profile on patient review website pages and 90 percent of those doctors have at least one rating. The study collected reviews about ophthalmologists, examining a total of 84,288 online reviews of 7,372 ophthalmologist profiles. Data shows that doctors who included a photo, biography and academic affiliation had higher ratings. In addition, shorter wait times and no history of malpractice also led to higher ratings. 

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If you believe that you or a family member has been injured because of a balloon angioplasty related error, you can potentially obtain financial recovery for your injury. Our Syracuse medical negligence advocates believe that medical professionals should put patient safety first and should be held accountable for any preventable harm that they cause. Cases involving angioplasties can be incredibly complicated but we understand how to evaluate them.

What is Balloon Angioplasty

Coronary artery disease is caused by the build-up of cholesterol plaque in the arteries leading to the heart. A coronary artery block may put an individual at risk for a fatal heart attack. A balloon angioplasty is a common surgical procedure used to reduce coronary artery blockage. The procedure involves widening of a blocked or narrow blood vessel through a balloon catheter. Specifically, a balloon-tipped catheter is temporarily inserted into the clogged artery to enlarge it.

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You may think that a tonsillectomy is a routine procedure with hardly any risks but the reality is that if a surgeon is not careful, the patient can suffer severe injury. If you or someone close to you has suffered harm due to a botched tonsillectomy, you need to reach out to a skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorney who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we will thoroughly investigate your situation to determine the viability of your claim.

Your tonsils are part of your immune system. They are located at the back of your throat and come in three types, all of which work to fight infections. Sometimes, however, tonsils become sore, inflamed and infected. If this happens and persists for a while, your doctor may recommend a procedure to remove tonsils known as a tonsillectomy. In other words, a tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils. While this procedure is used to treat tonsillitis, it is also used to treat sleep-disordered breathing. It may also be used to treat rare diseases of the tonsils. Individuals under the age of 15 are most likely to undergo this procedure.

Despite the routine nature of the surgery, there is still the possibility for negligence and error on the part of a medical professional. For instance, since tonsils are located by veins, there is a possibility for complications related to bleeding if the surgeon is not extremely careful. Another way a patient could be injured is if the surgeon fails to remove all of the tonsils and tonsil tissue grows back. Of course, there are numerous examples of the types of mistakes that can be made and you can rest assured we will identify any such errors made in your case.

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When a surgeon makes an error, it can cost a patient his or her life. If you or someone close to you has been hurt by a surgeon’s malpractice, you may be eligible to recover damages for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can meticulously evaluate your case and advise you accordingly.A Harvard study found that surgeons who behave badly, such as by yelling, snapping, intimidating, or belittling colleagues, are more likely to face medical malpractice claims. Researchers examined evaluations of surgeon behavior from peers, supervisors, trainers, coworkers, and others with malpractice history for surgeons from four academic medical centers. They used survey data for 264 surgeons from 2012 to 2013 and matched it to malpractice data spanning from 2000 to 2015.

The study found that surgeon behavior was linked to malpractice claims. Surgeons who showed multiple positive behaviors, according to the reviews, had less chance of being hit with malpractice claims, while negative behaviors, on the other hand, were associated with a higher likelihood of malpractice claims. These findings highlight the importance of teamwork and communication in exposure to malpractice.

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Wrong-site surgery can have shattering and life-long consequences for a patient. If you have been hurt because of a wrong-site surgery, you need to reach out to an experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorney who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause.

One of the most shocking forms of malpractice is a wrong-site surgery. Wrong-site surgeries are a type of medical malpractice and considered to be very serious surgical errors. In fact, a wrong-site surgery is considered a “never event” because it is completely preventable and therefore should never happen.

Sadly, wrong-site surgeries are more common than you might expect. Data from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) reveals that wrong-site surgery is the third highest-ranking event for preventable medical errors, comprising approximately 15 percent of the total preventable medical errors that occur nationwide. In addition, JCAHO found that 76 percent of wrong-site surgeries were surgeries performed on the wrong body part, while the other 24 percent were split between operations using the wrong procedure or operations on the wrong person. It is estimated that wrong-site surgeries happen 40 times a week on average.

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