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Court Analyzes Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence in a Case Alleging Harm Sustained at a New York Spa

Self-proclaimed med-spas that offer both medical and cosmetic procedures are increasingly prevalent throughout New York. Med-spas blur the lines between healthcare and aesthetics, and in many cases, it is not clear whether harm caused by negligent care at a med-spa sounds in medical malpractice or ordinary negligence. This was demonstrated in a recent New York appellate case in which a plaintiff’s claims for failure to obtain informed consent prior to a laser hair removal procedure were dismissed after the court ruled that the procedure was not medical in nature. If you suffered harm due to a negligently performed medical procedure, it is prudent to speak with a skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims for damages.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant spa, where she underwent a laser hair removal treatment. The plaintiff subsequently suffered burns and other injuries due to the treatment, after which she filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging, in relevant part, that the defendant failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent regarding the potential risks of the treatment prior to performing the treatment. The plaintiff also set forth claims of negligent hiring and supervision and ordinary negligence. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to render the treatments in a professional or competent manner and failed to properly test the plaintiff prior to performing the treatment. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence

On appeal, the court found that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to the negligence claims, finding that questions of fact existed that precluded the dismissal of such claims. With regards to the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent and negligent supervision claims, however, the court reversed the trial court ruling, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims.

Under New York law, a health care provider can be held liable for failing to advise a patient of the material risks of a procedure prior to obtaining the patient’s consent to proceed with the procedure. In the subject case, the court explained that the plaintiff failed to establish that the laser hair removal procedure was medical in nature, as it did not require any diagnosis or specialized knowledge of medical science. Rather, the claims alleged that the defendant failed to exercise ordinary care to ensure that the plaintiff did not suffer harm. As such, the court found that the plaintiff did not have a basis for pursuing claims for failure to obtain informed consent against the defendant.

Speak with a Capable Syracuse Attorney

If you were injured during a cosmetic procedure, it is advisable to speak with a capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages. The assertive malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at handling medical malpractice cases and will work tirelessly to help you pursue any compensation you may be owed. You can contact us at 315-479-9000 or via our form online to set up a meeting regarding your possible claims.

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