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New York Court Discusses Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

A variety of health care providers’ actions or failure to act may give rise to a claim for medical malpractice. For example, not only may improperly rendered care form the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit, but the failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to performing a procedure may as well. A plaintiff asserting multiple claims in a medical malpractice action must meet the requirements for proceeding with each claim, however, as each claim is analyzed separately, as demonstrated in a recent ob-gyn malpractice case in New York. If you or your child suffered harm due to negligent care provided by an obstetrician or gynecologist, it is advisable to consult a seasoned Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the plaintiff treated at the defendant health center during her pregnancy. The defendant was a federally qualified health center eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The plaintiff’s baby suffered numerous birth injuries due to the defendant’s failure to conduct proper fetal monitoring or to deliver the baby in a timely manner. Thus, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant pursuant to the Tort Claims Act, alleging medical negligence and lack of informed consent, and arguing that she suffered the loss of consortium of her child. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent and the loss of consortium claims.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

The Federal Tort Claims Act is the sole remedy for claims against the United States or any of its employees. Thus, prior to commencing a lawsuit under the Tort Claims Act, a plaintiff must file an administrative claim with the correct federal agency, and the claim must be denied. Filing the claim is a jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived. As such, if a plaintiff fails to meet this requirement, his or her claim must be dismissed due to the court’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

In the subject case, the plaintiff filed a notice of claim with the appropriate agency in June of 2017, and it was denied in March 2018. The court noted, however, that the plaintiff’s claim only asserted that the defendant committed medical malpractice, and did not include allegations that the defendant was liable for failing to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent. Further, the plaintiff did not assert her loss of consortium claims in her notice with the agency. The court held that the plaintiff’s failure to assert these claims constituted a failure to meet the jurisdictional prerequisites. Additionally, the court stated that New York did not recognize claims for loss of parental consortium. As such, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Confer with a Trusted Syracuse Attorney

If you or your child suffered harm due to inadequate care provided by an obstetrician or gynecologist, it is advisable to confer with a trusted Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding what you must prove to recover compensation. The knowledgeable attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at aiding people harmed by negligent medical care in the pursuit of damages, and we will aggressively pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can contact us at 315-479-9000 or via the form online to set up a meeting.

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