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New York Court Analyzes Summary Judgment in Medical Malpractice Cases

People who visit hospitals are often suffering from acute issues. Like all other physicians, doctors providing emergency treatment must abide by the applicable standard of care, and if they fail to do so, it can lead to grave harm. Many doctors will attempt to have medical malpractice claims asserted against them dismissed, despite the evidence in favor of the imposition of liability. Recently, a New York court issued a ruling in a medical malpractice matter discussing what proof a defendant must offer to support the argument that judgment should be granted in their favor as a matter of law. If you sustained injuries due to incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assess your rights.

The Decedent’s Harm

Reportedly, the decedent presented to the defendant hospital for emergency surgery due to a polyp on her vocal cords that was obstructing almost 85% of her airway. The defendant doctor determined that the plaintiff would either need to be intubated or undergo a tracheostomy while awake to secure her airway. The defendant doctor was unable to intubate the decedent after several failed attempts, after which he performed an awake tracheostomy.

Allegedly, the decedent’s airway was lost during the procedure, and despite attempts to re-establish it, her heart rate dropped, causing her to suffer swelling of the brain. She was transferred to palliative care and died a few days later. The plaintiff instituted a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging their negligence caused the decedent’s death. The defendants moved for summary judgment, but the court denied their motion. As such, they appealed.

Summary Judgment in Medical Malpractice Cases

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. Under New York law, a physician seeking summary judgment in a medical malpractice case must offer a prima facie showing that they did not depart from the accepted and good practice of medicine or that any such departure did not harm the plaintiff. In order to meet this burden, the defendant needs to address and rebut any specific allegations of malpractice asserted in the plaintiff’s complaint and bill of particulars.

The appellate court cautioned, however, that mere conclusory assertions that the defendant complied with the standard of care are insufficient to meet the burden of proof. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the defendant failed to show judgment should be granted in their favor as they did not address the plaintiff’s allegations. As such, it affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Skilled Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People rely on hospitals to provide them with the treatment necessary to address their health concerns, but not all physicians working in hospitals abide by the standard of care. If you were harmed by negligent care in a hospital, you may be able to pursue a hospital malpractice claim, and you should speak to an attorney. The skilled Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers possess the knowledge and resources needed to help you protect your interests, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf.  You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

 

 

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