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New York Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Cases with Disputed Facts

In medical malpractice cases, the parties will often disagree regarding the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff’s harm. Factual disputes typically must be resolved via trial. In other words, if a party asks the court to grant judgment in their favor as a matter of law based on a disputed fact, it is likely that their request will be denied, as shown in a recent New York ruling. If you or someone you love suffered losses due to inadequate medical care, you may be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the decedent called 911 due to suspected stroke symptoms and was transported to the defendant hospital. During the ambulance ride, EMS providers noted a worsening of his symptoms and issued a stroke alert to the defendant hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, the decedent underwent a CT scan and was assessed by the defendant emergency room physician and the defendant neurologist. Both doctors found that his symptoms did not warrant the administration of a medication used to dissolve clots.

Allegedly, the decedent’s condition deteriorated, and he was eventually admitted to the hospital. Tragically, he was found unresponsive early the next morning and was diagnosed with a pontine stroke, leading to locked-in syndrome. Brennan passed away three years later. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting medical malpractice and wrongful death claims, arguing that the defendant’s failure to administer the drug to dissolve clots led to the decedent’s death. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed.

Summary Judgment in Cases with Disputed Facts

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling, in large part because the defendants relied on disputed facts in their motions for summary judgment. The court explained that in medical malpractice claims, it’s incumbent upon the plaintiff to demonstrate that there was a deviation from accepted community standards of medical practice and that this departure directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Conversely, defendants seeking summary judgment must establish that there was no such deviation or that it didn’t result in harm while also addressing specific allegations outlined in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars.

The subject case involved disputed facts regarding the patient’s medical condition. The experts for the defendants, however, failed to adequately address the factual disputes. Specifically, they didn’t address whether the decedent’s condition had improved between the time EMS arrived at his home and his evaluation at the medical center, a crucial factor in the decision not to administer the subject medication. This unresolved conflict in the evidence made the experts’ affirmation insufficient to establish the defendants’ entitlement to summary judgment.

Confer with a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Hospitals are expected to provide people suffering from critical health concerns with competent care. Sadly, however, the care received in hospitals is often inadequate and directly causes irreversible harm. If you or a loved one were hurt by a negligent healthcare provider, you have the right to pursue medical malpractice claims, and you should speak to an attorney. The seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers have ample experience demonstrating incompetent physicians should be held accountable for the harm they cause, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We can be reached at  315-479-9000 or through the form online to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.

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