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Court Discusses Assessing Expert Qualifications and Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

In medical malpractice lawsuits filed in New York, both plaintiffs and defendants must submit expert reports in support of their respective positions. Generally, the success of either party is determined by the strength of its expert report. Numerous factors are weighed in determining whether an expert report is sound and compelling, though, as discussed in a ruling issued by a New York court recently, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged harm due to emergency room malpractice. If you were harmed due to the negligent actions of an emergency room physician, you could be owed substantial damages, and it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful Syracuse emergency room malpractice attorney promptly.

The Plaintiff’s Care

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the emergency department of the defendant hospital in February 2013 with complaints of stomach pain. He was evaluated and discharged with a diagnosis of gastritis. He then sought treatment from the defendant primary care physician in August and September 2013, reporting epigastric pain, and was advised he had gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Allegedly, the plaintiff then returned to the defendant’s emergency room in March 2014, when he underwent a procedure to repair a biliary leak. He underwent a second procedure in May 2014, during which he had a gallstone removed. He was diagnosed with choledocholithiasis. He filed a lawsuit against the defendants alleging, in part, that the defendant hospital committed malpractice by releasing him prior to ruling out gallstones. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were granted, and the plaintiff appealed.

Assessing Expert Qualifications and Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

On appeal, the court explained that it is well established that if a defendant that makes a prima facie showing that it did not depart from the accepted practice of medicine and that any departure did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to demonstrate a triable issue of fact exists. In cases in which the parties produce conflicting expert opinions, summary judgment is not appropriate, as the issue of the credibility of the experts should be resolved by the jury.

General allegations of medical malpractice that are not supported by competent evidence are insufficient to defeat a defendant’s motion for summary judgment, however. In the subject case, the appellate court conceded that the defendant hospital established, prima facie, the right to judgment as a matter of law. The appellate court disagreed with the trial court’s assessment with the plaintiff’s expert affidavit, however, and found that it raised triable issues of fact as to whether the defendant hospital breached the standard of care in failing to rule out gallstones. Thus, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling with regard to the defendant hospital.

Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Attorney

When people visit a hospital’s emergency room, they expect to receive competent care, but sadly many people suffer harm due to careless treatment. If you were hurt due to the negligence of a doctor providing emergent care, you may have a viable claim for emergency room malpractice and should speak to an attorney. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers, our trusted malpractice attorneys are adept at helping people hurt by incompetent care in the pursuit of damages, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or at  315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

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