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New York Court Discusses Sufficiency of Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

It is well established that a plaintiff that seeks to demonstrate medical malpractice must produce expert testimony that is sufficient to demonstrate that the defendant health care provider should be held liable for the plaintiff’s harm.  Not all expert reports are sufficient, however, as an expert must not only be qualified, but his or her report must also be based on reliable scientific methods. Recently, a New York court discussed what standards an expert report must meet to be admissible in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s hospital malpractice claims due to the lack of evidentiary support.  If you were harmed by negligent medical care while you were admitted to a hospital, it is wise to meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what recourse may be available for your harm.

Factual History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff began treating for insomnia at the defendant hospital, which received federal funding. During the course of his treatment, he took an anti-depressant but did not exhibit any complex sleep behaviors. In 2011 and 2012, however, the plaintiff exhibited such behaviors, in that he threw himself out of bed, and left his bed and fell into a wall, causing him to sustain personal injuries. He then filed a malpractice claim against the federal government, as the hospital was federally funded, alleging that the hospital’s negligence led to his harm. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff’s expert’s opinions on causation were inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence, and without expert testimony, the plaintiff could not sustain his claim.

Sufficiency of Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

In a medical malpractice case, to prove causation, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s departure from the standard of care was a significant factor in bringing about the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, where expert testimony is required, the expert must establish the nexus between the malpractice the defendant allegedly committed, and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. The court stated that even if the plaintiff’s experts were qualified to offer testimony, their reports were unreliable.

The court explained that to test reliability, it must examine the facts upon which the expert relies, the method by which the expert developed his or her opinion, and the manner in which the expert applied the facts and methods to the subject case. Here, because the plaintiff’s experts’ opinions were not based on facts or data and were not the product of reliable scientific methods, as required under the laws of evidence, the court deemed them inadmissible and granted the defendant’s motion.

Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Attorney

If you sustained injuries because of insufficient care while you were hospitalized, is it advisable to meet with a trusted Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims. The skillful attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient in proving liability in medical malpractice cases, and we will gather the facts and evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a successful outcome. You can reach us via our form online or at 315-479-9000 to set up a consultation.

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