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Court Discusses Proximate Cause in New York Medical Malpractice Cases              

Sadly, it is not uncommon for doctors and medical facilities to make mistakes when treating patients suffering from critical health concerns. Even if a provider makes a mistake, however, they will most likely not be deemed liable for medical malpractice unless their patient can establish that the error in question proximately caused them to suffer harm. This was demonstrated in a recent New York medical malpractice case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a medical facility. If you were injured by an improperly performed procedure, it is advisable to confer with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent heart surgery and the installation of a catheter that was performed by the defendant doctor at the defendant medical facility. The plaintiff subsequently suffered complications, after which he filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. In sum, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants delayed in performing the surgery and that the surgery was negligently performed.

It is alleged that the defendant medical center moved for dismissal via summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to establish proximate cause. The trial court denied the defendant medical center’s motion initially, after which the defendant filed a motion for reargument. Following the second hearing, however, the court upheld its original ruling. The defendant appealed.

Establishing Proximate Cause in New York Medical Malpractice Cases              

On appeal, the court reversed in part, dismissing the medical malpractice claim against the defendant medical center based on the delay in performing mitral valve surgery and installing the catheter, citing a lack of proximate causation.

The court noted that the defendant’s expert provided testimony that even if the surgery delay had worsened the patient’s condition, it did not increase the risk of perioperative complications, which were identified as the likely causes of the patient’s cardiac arrest. Similarly, regarding the delay in installing the DPC, the defendant’s expert argued that ischemia, a known risk, was not affected by the timing of DPC installation and would have occurred regardless. While plaintiff’s expert opined on the general deterioration of the patient’s condition due to the delays, they did not address the specific opinions presented by the defendant’s expert.

However, the court did not dismiss the claim alleging the surgery was performed improperly, as conflicting opinions between the experts required further examination, precluding summary judgment. Since the defendant did not contest other allegations against the defendant doctors, those issues were not addressed in the ruling.

Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Surgical procedures are meant to help patients, but if they are not performed properly, they can cause more harm than good. If you were injured due to a delayed or incorrectly executed procedure, you may be able to pursue medical malpractice claims against your surgeon and other parties, and you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your possible claims. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can inform you of your options and help you to seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us at 833-200-2000 or via the form online to arrange a meeting.

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