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New York Court Discusses a Primary Care Physician’s Liability for Harm Caused by Third-Parties

While most medical malpractice cases are straightforward and merely allege harm caused by inadequate care provided by a doctor, some cases allege a physician should be held liable for inappropriate acts committed by a third party. In a recent case, the Supreme Court of New York, Bronx County analyzed whether a primary care physician could be held liable under for medical malpractice for criminal acts committed by a physical therapist the plaintiff was referred to by the physician. If you sustained harm due to the negligent care or referral of a primary care physician, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Syracuse primary care physician malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff treated with the defendant neurologist who diagnosed the plaintiff with a concussion and a spinal injury. The defendant neurologist prescribed physical therapy for the plaintiff and then referred the plaintiff to the defendant primary care physician (PCP). In turn, the primary care cleared the plaintiff for physical therapy following a physical examination. The plaintiff underwent physical therapy with the defendant student therapist, at the direction of the defendant PCP.

Allegedly, during one of the therapy sessions, the defendant student sexually assaulted the plaintiff. The plaintiff subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants alleging, in part, that the defendant PCP improperly prescribed medications and physical therapy, and knew or should have known that the defendant student would engage in sexual abuse and failed to protect the plaintiff from harm. The defendant PCP filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court ultimately granted.

Establishing a Physician’s Liability for Harm Caused by a Third Party

In analyzing the defendant PCP’s motion for summary judgment, the court stated that to obtain a dismissal of plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim, the defendant PCP must prove that she did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Here, the defendant PCP provided an expert affidavit opining that the defendant PCP properly administered intravenous medications to the plaintiff and the plaintiff did not suffer any adverse effects from taking the medications. Further, the expert stated that the defendant PCP did not prescribe the plaintiff physical therapy, she merely cleared the plaintiff to begin physical therapy.

As to the plaintiff’s sexual harassment claim, the court explained that while an employer has a duty to refrain from knowingly hiring or retaining an employee with dangerous propensities, there was no evidence that the defendant PCP was aware of any likelihood of harm presented by the defendant student. As such, the court found that the defendant PCP met her burden of proof that she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Speak with a Skilled Primary Care Physician Malpractice Attorney About Your Case

People harmed by inadequate medical care have a right to seek damages from anyone responsible for their harm. If you were injured by incompetent care provided by a primary care physician it is essential to speak with a skilled  Syracuse primary care physician malpractice attorney about your case and what you must prove to recover compensation as soon as possible. The trusted malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work diligently to gather any facts and evidence that will help you obtain a successful result. We can be reached through our form online or at  315-479-9000 to set up a confidential and free meeting regarding your case.

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