Articles Posted in Surgical Malpractice

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scalpelA failure to diagnose appendicitis can result in a serious injury or even death to a patient. If you believe your doctor misdiagnosed your symptoms or failed to diagnose appendicitis in a timely manner, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys have helped many New York clients resolve their personal injury claims, and we can help you as well. You can rest assured that we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause.

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix and causes pain in your lower abdomen. In most people, the pain begins in the navel and then moves. As the inflammation worsens, the pain increases. While anyone can develop appendicitis, it is most common in people between the ages of 10 and 30. Standard treatment for the condition is the surgical removal of the appendix to avoid the danger of rupture. A ruptured appendix can result in the leaking of infection-causing organisms into the abdominal cavity, which can lead to serious health complications and even death. Appendicitis may be misdiagnosed for any of the following reasons:

  • Improper physical examination;
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prostheticThe loss of a limb is undoubtedly one of the most devastating things any human being can experience. If you or someone close to you underwent an amputation when it was not medically necessary, you may have been a victim of medical malpractice. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our diligent Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys are committed to representing New York residents who have required an amputation due to a medical professional’s negligence.

An amputation refers to the surgical removal of all or part of a limb or extremity, such as an arm, leg, foot, or other body part. The amputation of any body part is a life-altering experience that can lead to serious health problems and psychological issues for a patient. According to The National Loss Limb Information Center, approximately 1.7 million people currently living in the United States can trace their loss of limb to an accident caused by someone else. Unfortunately, in some cases, an amputation is a result of medical malpractice. Common examples of medical malpractice resulting in a need for an amputation include but are not limited to:

  • Surgery on the wrong body part, resulting in amputating the wrong limb;
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brain surgeryNeurosurgery is one of the most sensitive types of surgery, and neurosurgeons are required to use the utmost care when performing these procedures. If you have suffered injuries resulting from neurosurgery, an experienced Syracuse surgical error attorney can help you determine your next steps. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause. We can meticulously review your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Neurosurgery is the surgical specialization that treats diseases and disorders of the brain, nervous system, and spinal cord. It is a broad category that includes brain surgery. Brain tumors, subdural hematomas, strokes, and spinal cord trauma are among the conditions often treated with neurosurgery. All neurosurgery carries risks, but in some cases, a neurosurgeon’s negligence is a cause of preventable harm.

While many neurosurgery errors take place in the operating room, these errors also take place in regular offices when doctors are trying to diagnose and treat medical issues. Patients can suffer serious and even deadly injuries when neurosurgeons make certain medical errors, such as:

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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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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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surgeryWhen we visit a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility, we expect that any instruments used will be sterilized. If you or someone close to you has been adversely affected by contaminated instruments, it is imperative to reach out to a knowledgeable Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how dirty instruments can cause serious health problems, such as infections and illnesses. You can rest assured that we will analyze the facts of your case and help you mount a strong case for financial compensation.

Unfortunately, the use of contaminated instruments may be more common than you think. According to a pilot program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, out of 1,500 outpatient surgery centers that were inspected, about 28 percent were cited for infection control deficiencies related to surgical instrument cleaning and sterilization. Using unclean instruments can lead to a number of adverse consequences, including infections, loss of limb, and even death.

Hospitals have a duty to make sure that germs, disease, and contamination are kept in check through proper sterilization methods. When a dirty instrument injures a patient, that patient may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is defined as a failure to render care or treatment in accordance with the accepted standards of medical practice. In other words, medical malpractice takes place when a person or entity causes a patient harm by deviating from the level of care that a reasonably prudent person or entity would have used in the same or a similar situation. For example, a hospital adhering to the accepted standard of care would have a system in place to ensure each instrument was sterilized before it was used on a patient. As a result, a hospital that caused a patient harm by failing to do this would likely be liable for malpractice.

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backacheWe trust medical professionals to provide competent care, but the unfortunate reality is that mistakes do happen. Spinal cord injuries due to medical malpractice can have devastating consequences for a patient’s life. If you or someone close to you has suffered a spinal cord injury due to a medical professional’s negligence, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to helping our clients pursue the compensation they need to move on with their lives.

The spinal cord is the column of nerve tissue protected by the spine and is in charge of delivering messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Our spinal cords are fragile, and injuries to this part of the body can lead to serious damage to the nervous system. As a result, spinal cord injuries often result in a disability and even partial or total paralysis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 11,000 people sustain spinal cord injuries each year. Unfortunately, some of these spinal cord injuries are results of medical malpractice.

Under New York law, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional breaches the accepted standard of care, which then causes injuries to the patient. The standard of care refers to the level of care that another medical professional in the same specialty would have used under the same or similar circumstances. The standard of care will vary in each case depending on a number of factors, including the patient’s age and medical history. It is not enough to show that a medical professional breached the duty of care; a plaintiff must also show that the breach was a direct and proximate cause of his or her injury. This is typically established through the testimony of an expert witness.

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Surgical ProcedureMedical malpractice claims require testimony from expert witnesses in order to articulate the relevant standard of care for the medical professional who allegedly committed the negligent act. Not all expert testimony is admissible in New York medical malpractice cases. In fact, the United States Supreme Court articulated several factors that expert testimony must meet in order to be admissible. A November 16, 2017 decision, Norman v. All About Women PA, et al., case number K14C-12-003, reviewed an expert’s testimony on the standard of care in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The plaintiff went to a clinic and received a diagnostic laparoscopy procedure, and during the operation, her bladder was punctured. She also alleged that the doctor closed her up without fixing the wound, requiring additional surgeries and hospital visits. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit and offered the expert testimony of a doctor to define the relevant standard of care broadly accepted within the medical community.

New York law has two primary elements in medical malpractice lawsuits. The plaintiff must establish that the actions of the medical professional deviated from the accepted standard of care and that such a deviation caused an injury to the plaintiff.

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MRIWhen it comes to surgery, timing can be everything. If the body reacts in unexpected ways to a surgical procedure, the physician performing the operation needs to react quickly in order to prevent long-term injuries or even death. It’s unfortunate, but instances of New York surgical malpractice are not uncommon. In a recent surgical malpractice case, the plaintiff alleged that he suffered permanent injuries because the surgeon performing the operation failed to act fast enough and caused permanent injuries.

The plaintiff was admitted to a medical center to treat what doctors speculated was a spinal epidural abscess. This condition involves the build-up of pus in the spine. The result is a compressed spinal cord and can be treated by antibiotics or, alternatively, by draining the build-up of pus. The medical center’s resident physician was assigned to the plaintiff’s care, and he correctly surmised that the plaintiff had a spinal epidural abscess before he consulted with another doctor.

What the plaintiff alleged in the lawsuit was troubling. Even though the assigned physician had initially speculated that the plaintiff had an abscess, the physician allegedly did not order an MRI or another method to confirm the diagnosis. In addition, he did not seek to remove the abscess until the plaintiff could no longer move his legs.

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Mandatory arbitration provisions in contracts are becoming increasingly common. The United States Supreme Court has viewed them favorably. Most notably, the landmark decision AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion held that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 preempts other laws that restrict companies from requiring customers to rely on mandatory arbitration. Medical practices also use mandatory arbitration provisions, although they prevent those injured by medical negligence from filing a lawsuit in the courts system. Since this case involves federal law, it is applicable to people injured by New York medical negligence as well.

The United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a North Carolina Supreme Court decision that struck down a mandatory arbitration provision signed by a patient, who later alleged medical malpractice against his physician. The plaintiff was an elderly man, who had a limited education and was rarely asked to read for his work. When he arrived at the doctor’s office, he was given a stack of forms, which included medical history information, along with the mandatory arbitration form. No one in the doctor’s office explained the form to him, nor told him it was optional. The plaintiff simply assumed that the document was a formality.

The plaintiff later underwent hernia surgery. There were complications with the surgery, and the plaintiff had to undergo additional surgeries to prevent the amputation of his leg. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit for medical malpractice, but the defendant moved to have it dismissed on the ground that it was subject to mandatory arbitration. After a series of appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court eventually heard the case.

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