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New York Court Discusses Establishing Liability for a Delayed Diagnosis

For many medical issues, a prompt diagnosis is essential to a good outcome. As such, a patient that suffers harm due to a delayed diagnosis may be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Merely demonstrating that a diagnosis was delayed is not sufficient to establish liability, though, as a patient must also show that the delays caused actual damages, as discussed in an opinion recently issued in a New York medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suffered harm due to diagnostic delays, it is advisable to confer with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you can.

The Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff received an epidural when he was admitted to a hospital for a procedure. He subsequently developed an epidural abscess that ultimately left him partially paralyzed. He then brought medical malpractice claims against the defendants, the doctors who cared for him during his admission, alleging that their failure to diagnose the abscess that led to his harm promptly. The defendants moved for summary judgment, but their motion was denied. They then appealed.

Establishing Liability for a Delayed Diagnosis

The court reversed the trial court ruling on appeal and dismissed the claims against the defendant. In New York, a defendant moving for summary judgment in a medical malpractice case initially bears the burden of demonstrating either that there was no departure from the applicable standard of care or that any such departure was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s losses.

In the subject case, the court found that there was no dispute that the defendants met their burden of proving they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. As such, the burden shifted to the plaintiff to show that a triable issue of fact existed via an expert affidavit. Here, even assuming that the plaintiff’s expert report demonstrated that an issue of fact existed as to whether the defendants departed from the standard of care, it was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact on the matter or whether such departure caused the plaintiff’s harm.

The court elaborated that the plaintiff alleged that the defendants’ delays worsened the plaintiff’s chance of a better outcome, but his expert’s assertions on the issue were not supported by the medical evidence of record and were conclusory, speculative, and vague. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Capable Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Delays in receiving a diagnosis and appropriate care can lead to permanent detriments, and patients harmed by their doctor’s failure to provide a timely diagnosis have the right to seek compensation. If you suffered losses due to a delayed diagnosis, you should talk to a lawyer about your possible claims. The capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can examine the facts of your case and help you to seek any damages you may be able to recover. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

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